Long list of firsts characterizes SYF Scholarship recipient

Karla Garcia is a 2014 Simon Youth Community Scholarship recipient, a first-generation American, the first in her family to graduate from high school and the first in her family to attend college.  She was kind enough to send the following note to SYF, and we want to share it with our supporters and advocates – the people who have made it possible for us to play a role in Karla’s educational pursuits.

Dear SYF team,

Thank you for your generous contribution toward my higher education through the Simon Youth Scholarship program.  One month ago, I became the first person in my family to graduate from high school, and in a few weeks, I’ll be the first to attend college.

My parents are from a small, rural pueblo in Mexico, where the violation of basic civil rights is part of everyday life.  It’s no place to raise children.  My parents sacrificed everything and moved away from family and friends to provide me an opportunity to pursue the American dream – to fulfill my potential – in this blessed nation.

Here, in our great country, I am free.  I have a voice.  I am independent.  And I can be prosperous! The journey as a first-generation American has not been easy, but it has been entirely worth it.  I am so blessed by wonderful people and organizations – like SYF – that support youth like me in realizing and pursuing our dreams.

When my father first came to the United States at the age of 16, his very first job was at the power plant at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  This fall, I will be able to return to UNC, not as a laborer, but as a college student.  I am the eldest in my family and hope to set the example of hard work, resilience and discipline for my younger siblings.

As I enter my college career and professional life, my mission is to make the lives of others better and to serve selflessly.  Professionally, I hope to contribute to closing the education gap for minorities, so that we diversify the leadership of our country, and hence, bring forth unique knowledge and experiences.  I also hope to enter the realm of local politics and public affairs . . . perhaps on the school board, city council, Congress, and maybe even the Presidency one day. “Karla in 2040” has a nice ring to it!

Thank you for making this possible.

With the most sincere gratitude,
Karla G. Garcia
2014 Graduate and SYF Scholarship Recipient

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