Giancarlo Tejeda's College Dreams

$9,985 of $75,000 goal

Raised by 65 people in 47 months
My family and I emigrated from Colombia when I was just three years old, but we were denied our residency papers and became undocumented immigrants. Still we were determined to make the best of our experience here with the opportunities that were given to me, even if I wouldn't have as many as others. I decided at a young age that I would succeed -- even if the odds were against me -- because it’ll make my triumph that much sweeter.

I grew up in Miami, where there are people from all around the world, as well as a great community. Because of this community, I have gotten through some of my toughest times and have never felt alone because I am surrounded by people that understand and sympathize with my struggle.

Starting a new life in a foreign country isn’t easy.  My parents had to face starting over with nothing, leaving their own professions back in Colombia, and struggle to find whatever work they can. Still, they inspire me to push on, to work hard, and pursue my goals because they sacrificed so much in order to give their children a better life and more opportunities than they had.

Following the example of my parents’ valiant efforts and selfless sacrifices, I strive to excel in everything that I do, and work hard to obtain that better life that they wanted for me. I’m always challenging myself to improve and am always motivated to help others that are in need.

School became my sanctuary, a place where it didn’t matter where I came from or what my legal status was. The only thing that mattered was how hard I worked.  In this environment, I thrived and even looked for more rigor, attending a high school that is a two hour bus ride from home.

My dream is to become a biomedical engineer and go into neurological research.  I want to make an impact, helping find cures for diseases like Alzheimer's as well as other neurological illnesses that plague so many of our loved ones. 

I applied to numerous colleges, hoping to get closer to achieving my dream, hoping to find a scholarship, a grant, to be accepted to a school with endowments that would help finance my education. Unfortunately, that was not the case. I have been accepted to the University of Florida and New York University; but, as great as these institutions are, they cannot provide me with enough financial assistance in order for me to attend. 

As an undocumented student, I don't qualify for federal financial aid, scholarships, grants or even loans. My dream, which seemed so near, now seems out of reach.  

I hope that, by sharing my story, I can find the help I need to realize my college dreams; I also hope that by coming forward with my story, I can help others in similar situations continue to reach for their own goals.  

The route I have chosen to take in my life is not an easy one, but I know that my hard work, and my parents’ sacrifice, will be worth it in the end. 

Thank you to all those who have helped me realize my dream.

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After spending my last two weeks holed up in a library studying for my final exams, I finally have the time to truly reflect on the incredible year that I have just experienced. A little over a year ago I was faced with the reality that my status would make seeking a secondary education almost impossible. I was frustrated and almost hopeless by the fact that despite my best efforts, and ambitions, I was likely not able to get a college education. Now I find myself at the end of my first year of college. It’s odd to think that just a year ago, I couldn’t imagine myself being here because the uncertainty of it all seemed too great.
This past year I have had so many great experiences and met many great people. I have gotten involved with the Hispanic community though the Member Leadership Program under the Hispanic Student Association. I am also an ambassador for Hispanic-Latino Affairs, where I am taking part in making the first scholarship handbook published by HLA. I was also selected for Savant’s Outstanding First-Year Leadership Award. I am also getting more involved with the social justice organization called CHISPAS and their campaign to help undocumented/DACA students attain resources at UF. The classes that I have taken, although challenging, have been fulfilling, and I’m proud to say that I’ve gotten A’s in almost all of my classes during my first year.
This year was one of the most challenging, and most rewarding years of my life. It’s easily one of the best years of my life and one where I’ve grown the most. I am incredibly grateful to everyone that helped me on my journey to college and made it possible to have so many great experiences. Thank you to everyone who has helped make my first year in college truly amazing, and I thank God for the opportunity to do all of this. I will continue to work to help others that come after me and to make my family, friends, and all of you proud.
Giancarlo Tejeda
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In this time of giving thanks, I would like to take the opportunity to express my gratitude. There are definitely so many things that i'm grateful for. This year has brought me a lot of changes - many obstacles, and many more blessings. I'm thankful for everyone that has supported me along the way this past year. I'd like to thank my family, my friends, all my supporters, and God. I am tremendously grateful for everything that all of you have done for me. It is because of all of you I have been able to follow my dreams and attend the University of Florida. I have met so many amazing people and have been fortunate to take part in many great things in college. I am reminded how blessed I am every time that I walk through campus. Thank you to everybody who made it possible, I don't know where i would be without all of you. I hope you all have a Happy Thanksgiving!
- Giancarlo Tejeda
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Thank you to everyone who made this possible for me. I have now raised enough money to pay for my first year at UF, and I will be attending starting Fall. I am incredibly fortunate to have such a caring community supporting me.

Here is the most recent article that the Miami Herald wrote about me and all that I have been able to accomplish due to the support of my community:
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Today I was invited to be on The Rundown with José Diaz-Balart to talk about my story. Here is the link to the segment if you would like to watch:

Also, thank you to every to everybody has donated and shown their support. It really means a lot, and I'm closer now than ever to reaching my dreams to go to college.
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Daniela Torres
46 months ago

Dear Giancarlo, I have been in the same position you are, and I know that it seems an incredibly difficult and insurmountable obstacle, but eventually it will be just a blip in the journey that you are planning to take. If you would like any advice, email me at d.torrescheco(at)

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$9,985 of $75,000 goal

Raised by 65 people in 47 months
Created April 8, 2015
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Justin Ortiz
29 months ago

You're one of or maybe even the smartest people I know. You deserve this more than anybody bro.

Oliver Telusma
33 months ago

Keep fighting. Don't ever give up on your dream.

Nanlouise Wolfe
33 months ago

Best wishes! (advised by Paul Ortiz to help support you!)

Paul Ortiz
33 months ago

From Paul and Sheila: keep it going!

33 months ago
33 months ago
Daniela Torres
46 months ago

Dear Giancarlo, I have been in the same position you are, and I know that it seems an incredibly difficult and insurmountable obstacle, but eventually it will be just a blip in the journey that you are planning to take. If you would like any advice, email me at d.torrescheco(at)

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