Her senior English teacher, Vanessa Puentes, was a vital figure for Estrada at the time who taught her important life skills.
Puentes even let Estrada stay at her own mother’s unused home when she had nowhere to live after graduating from college.
“She didn’t have a place to live. She’s lived with my family and we’ve built a very strong relationship over the past 10 years,” Puentes told ABC7 Chicago, who is now principal at the high school.
Now at 29-years-old, Estrada has recently become the first scholarship recipient to graduate from Loyola University School of Law in May.
She lives in an apartment in Pilsen, and is currently studying to take the bar exam next month.
Estrada has been invited to deliver a keynote speech at her alma matter on how she overcame the challenges she faced.
“I want to let them know every person will encounter a hardship at some point in their life, and they have the power to empower themselves because of it or let that take them down in some way,” Estrada told Chicago Sun Times.
“But I truly believe you can overcome most hardships in life, and you can find something positive about it.”