By: Ashley Chen
Imagine coming home from an exhausting day at school. You finally get through the door, sit on the couch and are about to decompress, when you realize that you’ll be late for work if you don’t leave immediately.
d.tech freshman Sophia Abreu has no time for sitting around. She has not one, but five paying jobs: as a freelance website developer, math tutor, computer science teacher, babysitter, and personal chef. With her plethora of jobs, Abreu also maintains a 4.0 GPA and is a Koi Venture entrepreneur, all at the age of 14.
The seeds of Abreu’s drive and ambition were planted by her parents early on. Their goal was to instill a good work ethic and for Abreu to be able to buy her own things. Sophia’s mother, Ann Abreu, adds that “Sophia has been motivated her whole life. It was a combo of how she enjoyed [working] and intrinsically had a knack [for it]”.
This work ethic and knack made themselves more apparent last year. Ten months ago, Abreu and her family found themselves in a financial quandary. Abreu had a medical condition that required frequent doctor visits, however, their health insurance company was not covering her medical costs. Rather than despair, Abreu stepped into action and started hunting for jobs.
She successfully landed her first job at The Reading Bug bookstore in San Carlos, where she hosted birthday parties.“Having a job definitely taught me what work ethic is. You really have to work for something to get it, and it won’t just be handed to you,” says Abreu. From there, she began her succession of jobs. In addition to holding the typical teen’s job as a babysitter, she also works as a freelance website developer. Abreu provides website creation services and advertises through her site [http://abreuwebsitedesign.com].
As a math tutor, she currently tutors two students in 6th and 8th grade on their math assignments. She gathers clientele through an app called Nextdoor, a network for communities to make connecting with neighbors easy. “I have always been a good teacher, and I believe teaching is an important skill,” says Abreu.
Also a computer science teacher, she prepares lesson plans and and teachers two students on Scratch and Python once a week.
Finally, in her favorite role as personal chef, she decides which recipes to create, and then walks to the home of her client, Jen Barry, to cook the final meal. When asked why Abreu was the right chef for her, Barry revealed, “I liked the idea of having somebody in high school, and let them explore something their really good at.” Because of Barry’s busy schedule, she enjoys being able to take a break once a week, and let Abreu take over cooking a meal for her and her family. She gushed about how her favorite meals so far have been Abreu’s lamb burgers and fish tacos.
You might wonder how a high schooler would qualify for such high-skilled jobs. Abreu’s father, a computer scientist himself, taught Abreu how to program when she was younger, and later enrolled Abreu into a middle school where computer science was part of the main curriculum. “He believes, and I also believe, that knowing how to program computers is an incredibly important skill and can lead to higher paying jobs and a better future,” says Abreu.
In the 6th grade she also began to take community college courses to further her programming skills: HTML, Python, advanced CSS, and last year she learned one of the more difficult languages, C++.
Having multiple jobs, Abreu found she not only could pay for her doctor bills, she could pay for her phone and clothes while her parents provided the necessities such as shelter, food, education, love, and support. “A lot of people often rely on their parents to pay for their clothes or they say they’re broke, or don’t have any money. They don’t even think about having a job,” says Abreu. However, having multiple jobs also comes at a cost, and balancing school and work can be challenging. Abreu is required to be well organized to excel at both, and must utilize her time wisely and judiciously. She manages by completing her schoolwork during FIT periods, and, unfortunately, sacrificing sleep. Abreu’s busy schedule also requires her to make choices about how she wants to spend her limited time; she recently hung up her retail worker hat to make room for a chef’s hat. Her many years of cooking with her dad gave her the ability to qualify and make it through to the second round on Chopped Jr., a televised series where young cooks showcase their dishes using the mystery ingredients provided.
Even with all of her many talents and wide range of expertise at such a young age, Abreu has always believed work ethic is the most important skill. Though she may not know what her one true passion is or what she wants to be in the future, her drive, ambition and ability to juggle many responsibilities will lead her far.