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Photo: Instagram/@santaana_highschool
Culture News and Entertainment

Latina Daughter of Undocumented Immigrants Headed to Harvard

Proving Latinas are capable of anything despite the obstacles immigrants and first generation kids face, another student has now been accepted into Ivy League schools. Stephany Gutiérrez is a senior at Santa Ana High School and she was recently accepted into four Ivy League universities: Harvard, Brown, Dartmouth, and Columbia, ABC reported. Gutiérrez is the daughter of undocumented immigrants and hopes to become a pro-bono attorney to help her community.

In an emotional video her high school posted on Instagram, Stephany can been seen in front of her computer surrounded by her parents and her sister and anxiously checking the admissions letters. She initially sees she got into Columbia University, then Brown, and then Dartmouth, and happily rejoices with her family.

She was accepted into four of the five colleges she applied to and got into her first choice, Harvard, where she plans to study law, Milenio reported. “It was difficult, my parents are still illegal immigrants here in the United States. Their support in particular has been excellent, my father and mother have always told me that education is the way to get ahead,” she told Univision.

She joins two other students from her school who also got into Ivy Leagues: Oziel Flores and Cielo Echegoyen who are also going to Harvard according to Milenio. Flores is the son of Mexican immigrants and is going to be a first gen college student who plans to major in mechanical engineering. Echegoyen is the fourth student from Santa Ana High School to accomplish this, underscoring how difficult for many students in her place. Of the nearly 3,300 students at SAHS, 84 percent are socioeconomically disadvantaged, according to school administrators ABC reported.

“My palms were sweating, my legs were shaking, my heart was beating because I was so excited and Harvard has been my dream school since I can remember so to be accepted – it still feels unreal,” Cielo Echegoyen said.

In addition to the socioeconomic factors, Echegoyen was also battling with the emotional stress of dealing with her dad, an immigrant from El Salvador, being detained by ICE. “Especially with my dad not being here my junior year – that was a particularly tough moment and there were times when my family relied on my teachers to pay for rent,” she told ABC.

She shared with the outlet that her goals include helping fix inequities in medicine and work to help the undocumented community like her mentor, Dr. Gloria Montiel. Montiel was the first student from Santa Ana High to attend Harvard and she was undocumented so she truly helped pave the way for other students like her. In the spirit of inspiring others, Echegoyen’s message to other students like her is that the hurdles shouldn’t stop them from going after their dreams.

“I understand that rejection is scary. I understand that it’s nerve-racking, but it’s so much better to try than to live with that doubt and just trust yourself. Trust your capabilities and everything else will fall into place accordingly,” she told ABC.