The American Dream
As a child in Mexico City Ana Cruz aspired to study in the United States, she said it was always her desire to have a chance at the American dream. To Cruz, that means living in a country where hard work pays off, merit is rewarded, and you control your own destiny. In Park City, she has largely come to realize that goal.
"You need to risk something to get another, better thing. That’s life," she said of her experience.
Her mother had already spent some time in the United States a few years earlier, where she could earn higher wages and send money back to her family. When Ana expressed her desire to continue her high school education in America her mother listened. With help from her uncle she was able to procure a student visa and immigrate with her mother in 2009.
Cruz enrolled in Park City High School in the middle of her sophomore year and said, at first, the language barrier was difficult. She dedicated herself to learning English and within 6 months was fairly fluent.
"I decided to just keep working reading, and when I didn’t understand what word I used, I looked in the dictionary, [or] if not, I would ask always, I [would] ask a teacher."
She plans to take AP English along with honors Math next year. She also fulfilled another childhood dream of being a journalist, taking Journalism 1 this year, which entailed working as an intern, doing story research and conducting interviews for reporters. Next year she will serve as the editor of the student newspaper the Park City Prospector.
Cruz said she received a warm welcome from fellow students, teachers and faculty at the high school. She said she made a point to look beyond the local Latino community, immersing herself in the American language and culture, seeking English speaking friends in order to cultivate her language skills and experience new things.
This is not to say she believes her heritage is unimportant. Cruz is running for President of Latinos in Action, a student organization she participated in this year, where bilingual students act as mentors and para-educators to students at McPolin Elementary School, serving the academic and social needs of Latino children. Cruz says she speaks Spanish at home as well, observes various Latino traditions and believes combining cultures is vital to her identity.
PCHS faculty nominated Cruz to attend the National Young Leaders Conference in Washington, D.C., a prestigious program and an important opportunity. The program invites students to the capital to meet with members of Congress, lobbyists, journalists, and academicians to discuss student’s role in democracy, and key issues of law and public policy. The conference aspires to educate and motivate students and to bolster leadership skills.
The cost of the conference is $4,000 per student and Cruz is soliciting community members to help underwrite her attendance as she doesn’t have the financial ability to do so herself. She’s put together a portfolio of her achievements and significant academic endeavors and is distributing it in the community in the hope that she will find a benefactor by the deadline for conference fees, Friday, June 4. Interested parties can contact Miss Cruz at firstname.lastname@example.org ; email@example.com or call 435-657-0513. Sam Walsh at Park City High School can also be contacted for information at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 435-645-5650.
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