Empowering undocumented young people to achieve educational and career goals
STUDENT VOICES IMMIGRATION STORIES
It is always prefaced with "I know I'm going to butcher this." Almost always a pause. There, that didn't sound half bad.
JIR-A-YUT. With each syllable, I see the debt collectors waiting outside the gates of our home in Thailand. My parents' faces agonized as they fought over what to do and where to go next. It seemed like there was no escape.
JIR-A-YUT. With each syllable, I return to that one-bedroom apartment in Milpitas where my brother, sister, and I crammed into the bedroom while my parents slept in the living room -- right next to the kitchen and dirty shoes.
JIR-A-YUT. With each syllable, I relive each time I had to ask others to repeat themselves as I tried to absorb and use as much English as I could.
JIR-A-YUT. With each syllable, I call Dr. Jose Cueto, my mom's gynecologist; to describe the sharp pains she still had months after surgery. There was no other Thai translator.
JIR-A-YUT. With each syllable, I remember why I must step forward. More than just a remnant of my past, I cling on to my name through the most desperate of times. I see the goals I have yet to reach -- they are in sight. I know how to change this. I will get scholarships, I will graduate, and I will become a doctor.
About the Author Jirayut is one of E4FC's 2010 Scholars. He emigrated from Thailand to the United States when he was 9 years old. Throughout high school, he worked over 30 hours a week to save money for college. He also volunteered regularly at the Sacramento Food Bank. His perseverance and hard work earned him recognition as an AP Scholar With Distinction and the honor of being his class salutatorian. An aspiring medical doctor, New is now a junior at UC Berkeley majoring in Molecular and Cellular Biology. Throughout college, he has been able to maintain a 3.7 GPA while being involved in groups such as the Thai Student Association and the Asian American Medical Student Association.