- Jun 2021
Angelo: Yes, it was very difficult. Growing up like, up until middle school, I was all about school. I was in honors, AP classes, all of that. There was a point where one of my teachers—one of my reading teachers—basically just had me by myself because whatever she was teaching wasn't enough for me. She had me on a college level reading. I forgot the book, The Count of Monte Cristo? The Count of Monte Cristo.Isabel: That's definitely college level [Laughs].Angelo: Yeah. So—Isabel: In what grade?Angelo: I was in the eighth grade. And so that was awesome for me because I feel like, “Okay, I'm not from here, but they're praising me, and they're saying I'm doing good." And I'm sorry, what was the question?Isabel: No, no, that was perfect. I was just saying it's a hard dynamic, like refusing those opportunities.Angelo: Yes. And so after middle school, I was also into poetry a lot. I got a reward and I was asked to go to Nevada to receive the reward in front of a bunch of people. The website was legit—it was if you search poetry on Google, it was the very first one that came up. It was even to a point where you search my name and my poem came up. I got a mail certificate inviting me to Nevada, Las Vegas, Nevada to receive that reward. I ran around the house; I told my sister. But at the end of the day, it was that risk of if we go, we're going to get pulled over, and we're going to get deported. So, you can't receive that certificate.Isabel: And this is a poem you've written yourself?Angelo: Yes.Isabel: What was it about?Angelo: I think it was a love poem, it was most definitely a love poem, yeah.Isabel: I love poetry too. I only imagine how awful would be to when you pour yourself into a piece of art, like poetry, and then get recognition for it, and how amazing that feels, but then having that last hurdle that you can't go over.Angelo: Yeah. So, once we got that established that "No, you can't." Basically, for me it was like, “So what's the point? So what am I working for? If I finish high school, I'm not going to be able to go to college, what's the point?” And I really never saw a future after middle school.Isabel: Yeah, I feel like some students in high school have a hard time staying motivated knowing that they might be able to go to college someday. So, like being a high school student and knowing that you can't because of the law, I can only imagine being very discouraging in terms of doing that work. You mentioned you stopped going to school midway through your junior year, so what happened there and where did you go from there?Angelo: Well I dropped out of school because I had a baby. So from then on it was basically work, work, work. And that was basically my life after junior year—just work and work.
Time in the US, School, Working hard, getting good grades, Extracurricular activities, poetry, Struggling, Dropping out, Immigration status, lost opportunities, in the shadows
Isabel: Did you have anyone to talk to about this or is this really something that you just had to go through individually?Angelo: My sister, me and my sister—my sister's one year older than me—it was basically me and her. If it was her being offered something, we would just console each other. We would just tell each other, "No, you did good. It doesn't matter if you don't get the reward, it doesn't matter if you don't get the prize, you did it, you got that mail certificate." So it was just me and my sister.Isabel: So like in those situations, you might receive potential opportunities but like, no, you can't pursue them?Angelo: Yes, it was very difficult.
Time in the US, School, School, Working hard, Struggling, Feelings, Solidarity, Family, Immigration status, Lost opportunities