This is yet another inspiring story of a young person overcoming the obstacles placed in front of them by our immigration system. Judith lives in South Carolina, where smart, resourceful young people who graduate high school aren’t rewarded with a continued education. North Carolina wants to stop undocumented youth from accessing community colleges or public universities (you can sign the petition here); maybe hearing Judith’s story will help them understand just exactly what they would do.

Re-posted from DREAMActivist.org:

My name is Judith Rayo and I am undocumented. I was born on May 6, 1993. My family lived in Acapulco, Mexico and the small town of Geraro. I have two sisters and six brothers. Out of all by brothers and sisters only two finished high school and only one of my sisters has been to college. My parents, one brother and I lived in a one room house. We had a bathroom that was located outside. Growing up in Mexico was a struggle. My mom and dad worked very hard to finish high school. My mom did sewing for people and my dad worked at whatever jobs he could find. Although my parents worked very hard there were many things that we could not have. The most important thing that I did have was many wonderful friends.

When I was nine years old my mom made the decision to come to the United States. We were told that life would be better for us here. It was a very risky decision and required us to walk through the desert for four days and three nights. We saw many horrible things along the way and had very little food to eat. We drank water out of a pond that had dead animals along it’s banks. We also saw dead people. We were hungry, scared and close to giving up.We did not sleep very much and even when I did I heard every little noise around us. Death was always on my mind.

Having survived crossing the desert took great strength for a nine year old. It has shown me that anything is possible if you are willing to sacrifice to achieve it. Any challenge that is given me I find a way to accomplish it. I won’t give up until I do.

I have a great appreciation for the freedom that this country has to offer. America has so many opportunities for people. I am proof of that. When I came here at nine years old I did not speak any English. I have been on the honor roll each year since I came here and last year I was second in my class. I have also received perfect attendance for every year that I have been here. I have worked very hard to take advantage of the great opportunities here and to make my family proud of me. Courage, strength and appreciation represent who I am.

My college plans are to attend a four year university, major in early childhood education and accounting and minor in arts. In the future I plan to become a kindergarten or elementary school teacher and also look into accounting. Unfortunately, my dreams have been shadier because I can’t go to college due to my immigration status. It’s really hard to envision my future because I’m not sure what I will be able to do when I graduate this year on June 2.

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