We Are So Proud Of Our Graduates! Congratulations!!!
I’m 17 and a senior at Liberty High. As I think about graduating and college, I also think about my family. My family consists of my brother, sister and my mom. They have played a big part in helping me graduate. My mother came to the US when she was 16 from India and has worked very hard to get where she is right now. She has provided me with everything I have ever needed. Her selflessness fuels me to try to be like her and help change the social and economic justices in the world.
I am a bionic teen who has been blessed by the grace of God since I was nine years old. It was at that age that my entire life changed. I was diagnosed with Stage 4 Ewing’s Sarcoma cancer of the spine. While children my age were playing on the playground I, myself, was in a hospital bed. Since then, I’ve survived multiple spine surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation treatments. Today, I am considered a rarity because I survived. Because of what I’ve experienced, I have an enlightened perspective on the challenges people go through. I often think of life as a game of dice and you never know what you are going to roll; ultimately, a game of chance. This gives me the understanding that people can’t choose their challenges, but they do have the ability to overcome them. Cancer does not define who I am, but it has led me on the path to who I am meant to become. My name is Elizabeth Grese, I am a daughter, sister, friend, activist, volunteer and cancer survivor
I was born in Mexico; my mother was a single parent in a poor town where life was extremely difficult. She reluctantly traveled to America and left me behind, in the hopes that she could someday come back for me. My mother left me at the age of two and returned when I was four years old, which I am extremely thankful for. If I would have stayed in Mexico, the thought of college would not have even been an option! Since moving to this country, even though I don’t have legal status I consider myself Mexican-American.
I am undocumented, people consider me "an alien", but what is an alien? To me, an alien is someone from outer space, someone that doesn’t belong to this planet. Therefore, why am I an alien? I didn’t know I was breaking the law. I thought I was just like everyone else, since then I have learned otherwise. If I want to go to college I have to pay for it on my own, so I’ve worked full time since freshman year of high school.
“ Yo se que puedo triunfar a pesar de todos los obstaculos” (I know I will succeed in spite of all the obstacles).
I’m mixed with multiple cultures. My father is from England and his family origin is Jamaica. My mother is southern yet her family nationalities are Native American, White, and Japanese. One of the things that inspire me is wisdom from people I respect. My parents hold positions of President and VP in our own business, which I co-own where we make and sell natural body products. Through my business I’ve learned responsibilities, which helps me maintain commitments in YEG.
Through my life I have faced many obstacles. Such as being in foster care, losing my parents, having to grow up with my grandparents, and coming out about my sexuality. All of my struggles I have faced in my life have made me the positive, funny, outgoing person I am today. I learned that in life everyone goes through bad times, but you cant get a rainbow without rain.
“I say, It’s the fire in my eyes, And the flash of my teeth, The swing in my waist, And the joy in my feet. I’m a woman, phenomenally.”- MayaAngelou. I was born into a very loud and overflowing family of seven yet I was always quiet. I stayed in my own mind. This caused me to be left out at school. I was never the popular kid I wanted to be. In the fourth grade, I discovered writing. Writing became my outlet. I could make a world out of anything through my words. My family supported my creativity and they are the reason I go after my dreams with the determination of a warrior. Despite all the obstacles, I will still go on. -Somaya
I’d like to start by saying, “Anything is possible.” I come from a home with six children. On top of taking in six children, my brothers come with special needs. My brothers were told they’d never amount to anything, but they are proving society wrong. My family isn’t what society would consider wealthy at all. Because of my situation, I’ve always been told to “aim small” so I have a better chance of succeeding. But I didn’t listen. I am first in my class and I work at Sullivan County’s first youth-run cooperative. This Fall I will be a first-generation college student at Vassar College with 100% financial aid and scholarships. Anything is possible.-Olav
“No DREAM is too BIG” Growing up and being undocumented has brought many challenges to my life, but it has also made me stronger. Being part of this group has changed me. Before I used to see my immigration status as a wall that was unbreakable, but I was wrong. I am empowered to achieve anything and to never give up. I want every undocumented person to know we can achieve greater than what we are labeled to achieve. We all have the ability to accomplish our dreams. Together we will triunfar. -Tatiana
“We don’t develop courage by being happy every day. We develop it by surviving difficult times and challenging adversity.” - Barbara de Angelis. When I was two years old, my parents divorced. After that, I always felt split in two. I was born in Key West, Florida but I never stayed long in one place. Being constantly on the move, took a toll on me. I struggled with bad grades, numerous referrals, and I was always in trouble with the law. I’ve matured and grown from my past experiences. I’ve never given up and I help others going through the same troubles as me, encouraging them to push forward on such a narrow road. As soon as I see something unjust in my community, I make an effort to change things. -Austin
A small girl with big dreams… that is me. I’m striving to be the best I can for myself and others. I come from a huge blended family of different colors and religions. My mom and dad split when they had me. Years later, my mom had my twin brothers and my sister. I’m the big sister with more expectations, more stress, and less focus on me. Growing up, I’ve begun to see that finding our way in this world is the scariest challenge any of us faces. This inspires me to work hard because I want to be the role model for my siblings, better myself and succeed. -Netavia
I am a boy who raps and skates and loves all forms of art, especially graffiti. I really love the culture of skating and Hip-Hop and as an artist I want to make things that mean something using both of those elements combined. Everyone doubts my dreams of what I want to do. They say I am not a “realist” and they think I’m going to fail. But I don’t dwell on whether or not I’ll fail because that brings doubt and negativity. If I fail I will learn from that. When a scientist does an experiment that fails, he does another experiment and another. Eventually the experiment will succeed. –Jacob
I am an accelerated student and I worry about my grades constantly but I can’t get perfect grades. That defines me. I have also always been interested in design and photography. Even when I pursue my interests, people still try to put me down. Through all of that, I still aspire to go to NYU and be in the top 20 of my class. –Abby