Thursday, December 9, 2010

Support Mayra’s DREAM


By Carmen Cornejo

Mayra is a famous Arizona student. She has been mentioned on the floor of the U.S. Senate as an example of a determined young lady. Her lovely face, framed by wild curls, is also on the website of Richard Durbin, the Senior Senator from Illinois. But our Arizona State Senators do not celebrate young people like her.

Ironically, only because she has nothing to lose, was she willing to be made famous.

Mayra has beaten all odds. She comes from a working class family in a rural part of Arizona where expectations are tamed for everybody, especially Hispanic kids. She graduated from high school at the top of her class. She was also a student leader who headed the youth advisory board of her town. Now she is in college.

I met her by phone because she was painfully aware that her opportunities to get a scholarship to continue her education beyond high school would be limited, if not impossible. After carefully questioning me, she confided her secret: She was an undocumented student and wanted to know if college could be a possibility for her. I described how Arizona has passed laws tripling the cost of higher education for people like her, but that there would be a narrow window to search for scholarships by private donors.

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