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The Viper Vibe Felix Varela Senior High School Miami, FL
Issue Date: Monday, June 03, 2013 Issue: Vol. 12 Issue 6 Last Update: Tuesday, June 04, 2013

At-a-glance

undocumented students face struggles
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My name is Francys Rodriguez. I was born in Caracas, Venezuela. I lived in Caricuao - a district of Caracas, Venezuela. I have no memory of when I lived there due to the fact that I left at the age of six. All I know is that my mother worked at a bank and later decided to quit her job to take care of my brother and I. My father was an accountant and was able to provide for us. 

This all changed when my family and I moved to the United States. Their reason for moving to the United states was just like any other undocumented family who moved to the United States; they wanted a better life for their kids: my brother and I. 

September 11, 2001,  the day of the terrorist attacks was the the day my mother, brother and I arrived here in the United States of America. My father, who  was already in the states, had time to find a job and educate himself enough to find schools for my brother and I to be enrolled in. The day we arrived, we had no idea what was going on. 

We were on the last flight to Miami, Florida. My brother, who was nine at the time, knew a bit of English and was able to figure out the situation and explained to my mother what he understood of it. 
When we arrived, we stayed at my aunt’s house; this was our home for the next year until my parents were able to come up with enough money for an apartment to rent. In this house lived my aunt, uncle, two cousins and my family and I. This made eight people living in a house with three rooms and two  bathrooms. Surprisingly it wasn’t chaotic or anything, it was a very calm and organized environment. 
Eventually, one year flew by and my father obtained a job as a cashier in a gas station and my mother began cleaning houses. 

Their hard work lead them to renting an apartment which we would be living in for the next seven years. My parents are very hard working people, and it took me a while to realize that. Growing up as child in the United States wasn’t any different than your typical natural born citizen child. Being undocumented did not really affect me because it is not something everyone knows, especially if you’re a child. 

However, it did begin to affect me when I started high school. That was the moment that I knew I could not hang out with my friends all the time because it required me to have money in my pocket. I knew my parents didn’t have the luxury of giving me $10 a week to spend on what I desired. Therefore, I never gave them a hard time when it came to spending money on my wants rather than my needs. Not being able to apply for certain scholarships was something that truly discouraged me. Not being able to apply to universities because I knew that I wouldn’t be able to afford it and financial aid was not available. 

Listening to friends and people around me talking about how they earned scholarships and got accepted to prestigious schools as well as people who aspire to enlist in the military; something I can’t be a part of because of my legal status. I am now 17 and on the verge of graduating high school. I have obtained the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). This allows me to get a social security number which will allow me to work, even though I have lived in Florida for almost 12 years 

I still have to pay out of state tuition to any college or university. This makes it more difficult for me to pay for college. Being able to obtain a job helps a lot because I can now look for a job and  begin saving for school, When there’s a will there’s a way.

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