For Immediate Release: February 13, 2020
Contact: Carli Kientzle at [email protected]
Michelle of Christian Brothers University is TheDream.US’ “DREAMer of the Week”
Washington, DC – TheDream.US, the nation’s largest college access and success program for undocumented immigrant youth, is continuing its “DREAMer of the Week” feature – a weekly profile of a TheDream.US Scholar whose story offers a powerful example of the incalculable contributions of DREAMers to America.
This week’s DREAMer is Michelle, a Scholar of Chistian Brothers University:
I don’t remember Mexico, only South Carolina. I was only 15 months old, when we came to the United States. I grew up in Lexington, starting school and playing outside with my neighbors. I always enjoyed my History and English classes, especially AP Literature, which renewed my fascination with literature. Outside of the classroom, I was a member of Beta Club, Bigger Picture (a club dedicated to local community service), a Girl Scouts ambassador, and the editor of the school yearbook. I was also invited to be a member of National Honor Society, but, because I was so busy at the time, I felt I had to turn it down. I tried to keep busy my senior year to distract from the uncertainty and my fear about my future. My family certainly could not afford college in South Carolina and finding scholarships for non-citizens was much harder of a task than I had thought it would be.
I wanted to attend college near my home, but I simply could not afford it and was very hesitant to take out a loan that would put me in debt. As a DACA recipient, I am constantly fearful of making a decision that could make me look bad. I didn’t want to be in debt, because many individuals have a misconstrued idea that immigrants want to live off the government.
In the end, I was blessed to receive a full scholarship from TheDream.US to attend college in Memphis, TN, roughly about nine hours away from home. A few weeks after moving to Memphis, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, and, to make matters worse, she was still relearning how to walk after a terrible car accident that had occurred the previous. My mom had to go through most of the treatments on her own, because my dad worked and my younger sister was in school. Had I been able to attend school back home, I could have been there with my mom when she was going through a really rough time.
But, my mom is better now, and I can focus on my studies to try and excel in my family’s honor. I have made the Dean’s List every semester so far, and I’m studying to become a graphic design major. I hope in the future, after I graduate, I can return to my family. Ideally, I would live in Greenville and pursue a career in graphic design.
TheDream.US has provided over 5,000 college scholarships to DREAMers at more than 70 partner colleges in 16 states and Washington, DC.
The Scholars’ stories are especially powerful and poignant following the Supreme Court oral arguments on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, an executive action, which provided temporary legal protection for undocumented youth, terminated by President Trump in September 2017. The legal limbo and uncertainty is affecting Scholars’ lives, health, and futures and threatens to keep Scholars from fulfilling their incredible potential.
- Read through TheDream.US Scholar story-bank, featuring powerful personal reflections from Scholars about their lives, journeys, and future goals here
- Hear from two TheDream.US graduates, now working as a teacher and a nurse, discussing the impact of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program online here
- Watch a new video featuring TheDream.US college graduates online here