Friday, June 20, 2008

Blocked From The American Dream


By Jamilla Penarete

I am my mother’s American dream. I was born in Fairfax Inova Hospital. I grew up in Fairfax County Public Schools, recited the pledge of allegiance well over 1,000 times, made honor roll in high school, received my driver’s license at 16, registered to vote at 18, and eagerly awaited the moment when I could walk across constitution hall to receive my diploma, throw my cap into the air and begin a highly anticipated chapter in one’s life: College. That was easier said than done.

My going to college was never a question. It was expected and in mine and my mother’s minds a certainty. Education could not have been stressed enough in my home; she was the drive that helped me succeed in high school and the reason that I was determined to strive for nothing but success in college. I carried with me her struggles of a difficult life in Colombia where many a times she walked miles with no shoes to attend a small school in a far off town. She knew education was the key to a success that would take me to heights that she never had the opportunity of reaching.