Photo curtesy of Imelda Alvarez.
LA River School

Immigration & a new life

She came to this country illegally, but is now influencing the minds of teenagers. She spends her days from 8 a.m until 3:25 p.m. with high school students at Los Angeles River School and then goes home to her two kids, Matthew, 17, and Marylu, 13.

My Spanish teacher, Imelda Alvarez, is someone the United States should be grateful for. She came to America at a young age, managed her way around the U.S., and does everything within her reach to be a successful person in life.

Photo curtosey Valeria Albarran

Alvarez is an immigrant who came to the U.S. at the age of nine, not knowing what her life was going to turn out to be. She was brought to the United States from Zacatecas, Mexico not to cause any problems, but to succeed.

“It was four in the morning and as we were leaving and heading to the airport I remember looking back to my old house and thinking I was born there and spent all my childhood there,” Alvarez said.

She left all her childhood memories there and also her cat “chuntata” that stayed all alone. Alvarez crossed the border illegally with her older sister and her mother and she arrived to Los Angeles on July 4, which happened to be the first time she saw fireworks.

Alvarez was going to start a new life where she didn’t know the people or the language they were speaking. When I sat down with Alvarez, I asked about one of her memories of where she was born.

“I guess one of the memories was that everything was so safe,” she said.

She then began to say how she would stay out with her friends and play at 12 a.m. and how safe she felt. Although it was safe there, she prefers living in the United States because of the opportunities there is here such as the better education there is for her kids and herself, better work for her, and how everything is within a call away like the police or the ambulance.

Photo curtsey of Imelda Alvarez



She came at a young age and did everything in her power to get to college and become the very productive person she is today.

I am one of her students and I see how hard she works to get all her students to know where they come from, where they are heading to, and about the importance of getting to know our own potential. I think it’s amazing of her to not only teach students the basics of Spanish, but to also accept themselves. Even though filling out applications for college was hard she managed to get through it. She took the opportunities this state gave her.

“Everyone gets the same opportunities to go to college, and to become successful so Trump won’t say we’re all bad and rapists,” Alvarez said.

It bothers her when she sees kids who come in as immigrants and are not doing well or are not doing everything in their power to stay and become a well respected person.

Imelda Alvarez in my opinion is a well respected person because she is doing so much for this country like teaching kids and helping her own kids succeed. She is someone who has achieved the American Dream. Since she was a little girl, she has always wanted to teach and she followed her dream and became a teacher.

Ms. Alvarez has made a big impact in my life and all of her other students’ lives. She is helping create the next generation and is doing a great job in changing minds of high school students.