Rosalba AguileraAssociate in Applied Science, Criminal Justice
Class of 2013 Valedictorian
“Eleanor Roosevelt once said, ‘Do one thing a day that scares you’. So, one day, I did. I think back to the day that I decided to go back to school. Where would each of us be if we had not taken that step, done the thing that, possibly, scared us? I hope to do it again; I hope to face another fear, to take another step, to keep pushing myself and to succeed in what I set out to do. I hope you do the same.” Ms. Morales has already registered to begin working toward a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from Governors State. She plans to apply her degrees to be an advocate for young people in the juvenile justice system.
Marcela De Luna
Associate in Liberal Arts, Psychology
Class of 2013 Salutatorian
Like many Mexican immigrants, Marcela De Luna came to Chicago with her family at a young age. She attended Bogan High School and was able to take free classes at Daley College while she was still a high school student. As an undocumented student, she knew that the cost of college would be a huge barrier which is why she enrolled at Daley College after graduating high school to complete the first two years of her bachelor’s degree at an affordable rate—most students pay less than $300 per class at any City Colleges of Chicago plus books and fees. Due to maintaining a 4.0 GPA, Marcela’s last year was paid for through Daley’s Presidential Scholarship. She is graduating salutatorian and will be attending National Louis University in the Spring 2014. Marcela hopes to one day become a criminal psychologist.
Associate in General Studies
Class of 2013
Gerardo Salinas and his family left Mexico when he was 13 years old, shortly after a retina detachment in both eyes left him completely blind. For Gerardo, there were no options for education or work in his small town so his sisters and parents packed up to come to America to give him a chance at a better life. In Chicago, Gerardo learned Brail and English at the same time, often not understanding anything that was being said to him but, once he mastered them both, he thrived. Thanks to the DREAM Act, Salinas was able to obtain his Identification and can now qualify for the in-state residency tuition rate. Also because of his undocumented status he was not able to qualify for the services that a US citizen can qualify for when you are a student with a disability. Salinas stated “I now feel more secure and without fear because I have a document that lets me breathe a little easier for two years with the hopes of being renewed. I also know that we dreamers want a total reform that will reach to our families.” He enrolled at Daley College, an affordable community college option that allowed him to pay his own way through college and five years later he has graduated from Daley College. Gerardo is already enrolled at U of I and pursuing studies in social work. He hopes to become an immigration lawyer. For more on Gerardo, view his in-depth video here.