This past school year, as a high school senior, I participated in a fashion design competition, the Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) Arizona State Leadership Conference. I competed in the “Occupational” category, scoring a 91 which was sufficient for me to receive a gold medal. I also had the honor of qualifying as a National Contender for the state of Arizona after having scored within the top two places in the state. For me, this trip to Nashville is a final hurrah of my high school career as a designer. Attending the national conference would mean being recognized for an art that I care about dearly.
This honor of qualifying for nationals is not something I can imagine passing up, in spite of the barriers I face because of my immigration status. I am unable to safely take a flight to the National Leadership Conference this July because of the risks that would be taken doing so. My high school covers the costs of travel, housing, and some meals for my peers. Despite the safety concerns surrounding me traveling by plane, my school is unwilling to provide financial support for my alternative transportation. Community members have volunteered to drive me to Nashville, from Tucson, to ensure a safe arrival.
Being Undocumented means that many doors that swing open readily for my peers are closed for me; I would like for this one opportunity that showcases my talents to be open for me and whoever follows the same path I have chosen. Fashion design and fashion construction is my art form. I hope to inspire other Undocumented youth to create art, foster great passion, and then demonstrate the will and perseverance to rank nationally in the artform.
I am deeply excited and proud to represent my high school, my community, and Tucson on a national scale.
If you are interested in supporting more educational opportunities for undocumented youth please visit: www.scholarshipsaz.org
- Robert Bray
- Stephen Paul
- Randy Harmat
- Jose Granillo
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