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The Scholarship for Dreamers

A Golden Door
The+Scholarship+for+Dreamers
Brooklin Curtis

The Statue of Liberty reads, “I lift my lamp beside the golden door”:  For many of the students at Sunnyslope, their families followed the lamp into the golden door of America. 

For Senior Fatima Torres Valenzuela, Senior Bianca Trillo Barron, and Senior Nahomy Ordonez, and their families, they arrived in a time where the golden door has become gilded, and immigrants are often categorized more strictly and face many obstacles including to education. 

The cost of higher education can often prevent students from pursuing their degree, and undocumented students have an extra barrier here in the United States.

Many students can apply for relief through federal programs; however, there is a group of students who are unable to receive federal financial aid, and are not eligible for in-state tuition in most states: undocumented students in Arizona are eligible for in-state tuition under Proposition 308, but they do not have access to federal financial aid. 

But, The Dreamers scholarship is open to undocumented students who do not have access to in-state tuition or federal financial aid: they offer two types of scholarships – national and opportunity. 

Sunnyslope High School had three students win the national scholarship this year: Valenzuela, Trillo Barron, and Ordonez. 

Torres Valenzuela will go to college at Arizona State University to study Biological sciences, Trillo Barron will study Business and Global Management at ASU, and Ordonez will major in Business Management at Grand Canyon University. 

Torres Valenzuela said that she plans on going into medicine, but she is unsure of what path to choose, so she wants to “get started somewhere,” and Trillo Barron wants to start her own business. 

For Valenzuela, she faced a similar struggle as a lot of seniors this spring: how to  pay for college. 

Torres Valenzuela said, “I feel like a lot of Hispanic students and students from other countries do not get the same opportunities despite being just as brilliant.”

The national scholarship offers up to $33,000 for a bachelor’s degree, easing the financial burden of college which often acts as a barrier to students. 

Ordonez said she applied to the scholarship to help relieve the stress of money. 

While the scholarship helps pay for college, it is also a great accomplishment. 

Torres Valenzuela said, “it shines a light on students that aren’t citizens, but still have the same drive and passion to work, despite their legal status.”

For Trillo Barron, she said the scholarship “would be like a great achievement not just to me, but to my family.”

The scholarship recognizes students for their success throughout highschool. 

Trillo Barron said, “it’s important because not only do I not have a status here in the US, but having this money given to me recognizes that I’m an achievable student.”

For students looking to apply, the application is fairly simple although the essay questions may present a challenge. 

Ordonez felt like the application was daunting in the beginning; she said, “as an immigrant and as a student you will be afraid of the process and not having knowledge.”

However, Dierdre Eager, the college and career advisor, was able to help each student navigate the process. 

Ordonez said, “I remember talking to a Miss Eager and she was the one who pushed me to apply for this.”

Ultimately, the three students would encourage any student to apply. 

Torres Valenzuela said, “You think you don’t have a lot of choices, but you really do.”

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