This story was written by Adela Lopez, the daughter of immigrants originally from Ahuehuepan, Guerrero, Mexico. Adela was raised along the Buford Highway corridor that spans across four cities: Brookhaven, Chamblee and Doraville and Norcross. Adela has participated in the art show “Ni de Aqui Ni de Alla” recently and has offered an alternative version of the “Deportation” bus during the Primary Elections in Georgia. You can visit Adela’s Linkedin profile here.
When Bill & Melinda Gates were on CBS a few weeks ago talking about their life-changing Gates Millennium Scholarship, they mentioned the scholarship proved that low-income minority students are capable of doing just well as their peers if there was no financial burden. What they found out though, is that low-income minority students actually do better!
I am here sharing my story hoping to inspire and influence other foundations to invest in minority, low-income and yes, immigrant students like us.
As a child, I endured sexual abuse for 3 years. I lived in a 2 bedroom apartment with 13 people, & fought for my dad’s case against his deportation at the age of 14.
Although all these things happened to me, I always knew to never let my education fall behind. I was quiet & very anxious growing up, but after seeking help for my trauma in high school, I realized that I didn’t want to be a silent victim. With my loving Buford Hwy/Cross Keys HS community, it was easy for me to be accepted & for me to grow as a person. I joined many clubs, took leadership roles, and anything to show that I am no victim. Soon I realized I did want to go to college, but under the financial circumstances my family was living in, I knew I had to get a full ride somehow. After pouring my soul into 8 essays & convincing my wonderful art teacher & English teacher for recommendations, I was awarded this full ride at the end of my high school career.
So far, this scholarship has been my greatest achievement. I am fulfilling the American Dream, I am proving that my parent’s sacrifices were worth it.
Currently, I am studying Art Education at Georgia State University, standing at a 3.8 GPA, serving on the board for Los Vecinos de Buford Highway & LASA. I have been a Legislative Aide for Representative Nguyen, have volunteered for the Center of Pan-Asian Community Services for over 300 hours, and are currently working as an Assistant Camp Director at the High Museum of Art.