By Gaby Pacheco May 1, 2018
Jafet, 18, From North Carolina, born in Mexico.
One day I asked my father, “What would you if you won the lottery?” He simply answered, “Go back to school.” My mother and father were both born in the town of Pahuatlán, Puebla and experienced the hardships of poverty and starvation. My father had the opportunity to finish high school. My mother wishes she could have done the same, but she only made it to middle school. While both were driven towards higher education, money prevented them from accomplishing their goals. My father is very curious about how things work – the mechanisms behind them. He is constantly learning, though he didn’t receive a college education. My mom, who is also committed to learning, worked as a teacher’s servant in exchange for free night classes at a teacher’s house and a free place to stay. The living conditions became unbearable, and she quit and returned home — her ambitions crushed. I have the opportunity to achieve higher education and I want to make sure I fulfill my potential and reward my parents’ sacrifice. Adjusting to life here was hard. In Mexico, we had walked everywhere we needed to go. In North Carolina, we needed cars to get anywhere. In the beginning, I was frequently frustrated –I couldn’t communicate with anyone, my clothes were different. I had to accept that I was different. My sister is one year older than me and is currently studying in community college. We always talk about how later on in life, we’re always going to have each other’s backs just as we do now. She has her own ambitions of opening up a business and taking care of my parents when we get older. That’s something we both share. She has even outlined a plan for how we can both save money, so that our younger brother won’t have to worry about paying for college. We want to give our brother everything our parents wish that they could’ve given to us. While they may not be able to give us everything we wanted, they gave us everything we needed — and that is more than enough. DACA has opened the doors to my future, including TheDream.US scholarship, that will go towards giving my family, my community, and myself a better future. Right now, I’m working to help as many people as I can. I have a passion for programming and multiple ideas for websites to help the Hispanic community. Currently, I’m working on designing a website for my mother’s food business. Similarly, my uncles have their own companies, but they lack a crucial marketing tool: a website. I believe that by helping them, I can create more jobs for the community. After college, I hope to introduce minorities to technology
careers like the one I aim to obtain. I have cousins who just began high school, and they’ve both asked me to be their mentor. Honored, I accepted without hesitation. In the future, I want to work as a software developer or maybe open a business in the technology industry to create more jobs. Without college, and without DACA and TheDream.US scholarship, I’d be working in construction with my father, afraid to leave my house — living in constant fear and frustration about not being able to do the simple things that others take for granted, including traveling, driving, or applying to college. Now, I hope to graduate with my degree in computer science and continue my education by obtaining a PhD. And I want to give back to my parents for all they sacrificed to help me to be where I am.