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KUT News Staff
Making Dreams Come True: Grassroots Scholarship Assists Undocumented Student
As college-bound high school seniors graduate this month, many of them will have to worry about how they’re going to pay for their education.
But for one Manor, Texas student, her senior year has focused instead on helping to pay for someone else to go to school, by creating a scholarship for a fellow student from Manor – an undocumented student.
Make DREAMs Reality is a campaign created by Audrey Vivar, a senior at Manor New Technology High School. Vivar is offering a $500 scholarship for a Manor graduate who wants to go on to college, no social security number required.
“Growing up in a Hispanic community, I was aware of these individuals,” Vivar says of undocumented students. “They were my friends, they were my neighbors, they were people I had grown up with … It seemed odd that these kids were growing up and they wanted to contribute but they couldn’t.”
Vivar hit on the idea of creating a scholarship fund. “I knew that I couldn’t just have money donated to me, because I knew I wasn’t that big,” she says. Vivar then realized she could mirror awareness campaigns like Keep a Breast and LiveStrong. Thus, the Make DREAMs Reality campaign was born, with Vivar selling bracelets for three dollars each.
“Every single dollar counts,” Vivar says, “especially for college because I know it’s expensive.”
The scholarship will be awarded tomorrow, May 26.
The campaign’s name is an allusion to the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors act – more commonly known as the DREAM act. The DREAM act would provide a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants that entered the U.S. as children, allowing them to go on to college or enroll in the U.S. military. But it’s currently languishing in congress.
The issue is very real to another area teen, Antonio Peñaloza, a graduating senior at Lanier High School in Austin. Antonio cannot receive financial assistance for college because, as tells KUT News, “I came over to the United States when I was twelve as an illegal immigrant.”
“I do want to go to college after I graduate,” says Antonio. If he gets the opportunity to attend, he will be the first one in his family to ever do so. But, he stated, “I have to pay out of my own pocket.” Assistance like Make DREAMs Reality scholarship would “be a great help,” he says, “because that will pay for a whole class for a semester.”
You can learn more about Make DREAMs Reality on Facebook.