Garfield Senior High School

Chasing the American dream

It has been four years since he was born, and he hasn’t spoken a word since. Now he sits on a bed while a doctor examines his throat. His mother, behind the doctor, waits anxiously. After a few minutes the doctor turns and says, “He will be fine, you can’t rush these things.” His mother releases a sigh of relief, and thanks the doctor multiple times, “Thank you…thank you.” He leaves the doctor’s office holding his mom’s hand, and as they walk his mom weeps. Tears pour down her cheek, and fall on his chubby hand. Why? Why is she crying?

Before she gave birth to him, she lived in poverty with her husband and eight other relatives under the same roof. She rarely saw her husband. He worked for hours on end, and came home late. She came to a completely different country for a better life, and now she was beginning to regret her move to the United States. She felt alone. Suddenly she gave birth to a boy. Her loneliness went away.

Her move to the United States seemed worthwhile. She was happy and she thought she could relive her life through the eyes of her son.

After he said his first word, “mama”, his life began to speed up, and he accomplished many things.

In high school, he would stay after school to manage a club that he helped create, he would volunteer at a hospital, and he would tutor his classmates He did all of this, while taking many rigorous AP courses, and while maintaining a 4.0 grade point average. He would come home at 9 p.m. and do homework until early into the morning.

He worked and worked until he was considered a legend in his family. He was the first to go to college, the first Latino valedictorian of his school, the first in his school to go to Johns Hopkins University.

At Johns Hopkins, he continued to achieve great accolades. He was one of only four students to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry.

All these years he worked, and worked, and he never complained. His parents gave him what he needed, his mom cared for him, his dad worked a physically demanding job. All he could do, as a first generation child, was give his parents the life that they couldn’t have.