The year was 2000. My mom and I were getting ready to come to the U.S where my dad was waiting for us in Chicago all the way from Jalisco. She told me stories about what happened in our journey. I to this day have vague memories of crossing the river on my uncle’s shoulders. The water was very deep. I remember seeing my mom ahead of us, worried about what could happen next. She told me that we had to try three times to cross. I guess the third time’s a charm; we had made it. We traveled by bus all the way to Chicago where my dad was waiting for us to live with one of my uncles temporarily. From the moment we arrived, my dad has worked in anything to support us. He takes me to different events without hesitation, even after a long day at work; he takes days off at work to make sure my brothers and I have the tools we need to become successful in life. They have always told me “Nosotros no te vamos a dejar nada cuando ya no estemos en este mundo. Lo unico que tendras es la educación que te ayudamos a obtener porque nadie te lo podra quitar”. “When we are no longer in this world, we aren’t going to leave you anything. The only thing you’ll have is the education we helped provide to you because it’s the only thing no one can take away from you”. To this day, I remember this phrase and it reminds me of why education is so important.
Senior year was the year a lot of us had a reality check. Some realized “hey we’re adults is a couple of months, all our actions will have consequences that will affect our life”. Who knew a simple paper like a diploma or a paper that says where you were born would define what you can and can’t do in this country. A lot of us dreamed of going to an amazing college. We worked as hard as we could to get the best grades to get the acceptances to the colleges we wanted. Immediately the struggle wasn’t getting accepted, but how we were going to pay. Money became such an important factor just to get a college degree. Personally, I can’t afford paying a four year college. I went an unexpected route and decided to go to community college. Like me, a lot of my peers decided to do the same. Community college does not mean we aren’t going to graduate from a four year college. It’s just another path to the final goal. I will become a child psychologist that graduates from Northwestern or the University of Chicago. Like me, every single one of you have the potential, drive, determination to become the lawyers, teachers, architects, nurses, doctors, anything you want. It’s just a matter of not letting a wall that blocks the end of the road stop you.
If I would have gone to my neighborhood high school, I know I would not have the support I have here. Like the monarch butterfly, we transformed into the people we are today and grew with every experience we lived here. Mr. Garduño has supported us in any way he could. I personally thank him for being the shoulder I cried on when I didn’t receive the scholarship I really hoped to get. You have gone above and beyond for us. We had the luck to get such an amazing advisor like you. We can talk to you about anything and everything and know you’ll listen and give us the best advice you can. You fed us when we were hungry because the school lunch was not good. Over these four years you have become a very important person in all our lives. I think I can speak for all of the seniors when I say Thank You immensely for everything you have done for your 175 adopted children. We love you!
We have memories together that we’ll look back on for many years to come. This is where we had our glo’ ups, we met people we will continue to be friends with for years to come. In these four years, we’ve ran after buses, stayed up late working on assignments we left to the last minute, worked our butts off to be here graduating. Despite some of the ups and downs we’ve had, we’re the best graduating class of IHSCA because we are the class of 2016!