(This essay was originally published by the Hispanic Organization for the Promotion of Education -HoPe- a LCF Georgia member nonprofit organization. It is re-published here with permission to help amplify the voice and story of Luis)
Born in Guanajuato, Mexico, Luis immigrated to the United States with his mom when he was one to reunite with his father in search of the American Dream. Once in Georgia, Luis grew up with a competitive eagerness to do well in school to honor the sacrifices of his parents. His parents’ inspired him to work as hard as he could in order to live out his parents’ dreams of continuing their education, which they had to forfeit to work in the fields when they were 8 years old.
As a freshman at Habersham Central High School, he faced numerous challenges: he is the oldest of four, first-generation, and a DACA student. Because of these challenges, Luis’ focus was to excel academically so he could be accepted into a university despite barriers DACA students face in Georgia.
Luis would sometimes feel isolated, because he was the only Hispanic in his AP and Honors classes. This all changed when he joined his local HoPe Leadership Chapter and met David and Angela. While learning about leadership, one of David’s lessons was, “If in a room full of people you are able to transform the life of one student, you are fulfilling the mission of HoPe.” After this experience, Luis was able to fully understand his potential and the impact that he could make within his community.
Following David’s message, he became president of his school’s HoPe Leadership Chapter during his junior and senior years to help and inspire other students to pursue their passions. As a senior, Luis was nominated to the Posse Scholarship by HoPe, and after an extensive three-round interview process, he was awarded the scholarship based on academic merit and leadership. As a result, Luis is now a sophomore at The George Washington University in Washington D.C. He is studying International Business and Business Economics and Public Policy. He continues to serve HoPe as a Graduation Coach, and upon graduation, he intends to go to law school in hopes of becoming a lawyer and continuing to represent the Hispanic community.
Luis’s advice to DACA students is: “Never forget why you started. Don’t lose sight of your vision in the midst political uncertainty, for as a HoPe Graduation Coach once said, ‘The only way we can fight back is to excel.'”