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					Academics  Sports  entertainment Business  lifestyle

October 2009 vol. 35

exclusive interview!

Mariah Carey
SAT TIPS Surviving CliqueS The TruTh AbouT The 5 MInuTe rule

7471 Melrose Ave Ste#11 los Angeles, CA 90046 phone 323 655 2375 fax 323 655 2376 e-mail: Website:

STAFF liSTing Celebrity High inc.
Chairman/CEO Nick Cannon Founder / Publisher Coline Witt Executive Director Mackenzie Woods Vice President Otis Collins Harut Dzhuryan Editor in Chief Henry L.N. Anderson, Ed.D Managing Editor Dorian Graham Editor Stephen Witt Editorial Director Edgar Rodriguez Art Director Mackenzie Woods Staff Writers John Wareham Nyvia Weathersby Intern Owen Morse Advertisement Sales Robin White Peter Guy Kendall Holliday Legal Department Fagerholm & Jefferson Make School count tour James Jefferson Jr. Cameron McGee Journalism after School Recruitment Champions U.S.A

Dear Readers, Our sweetest month has arrived and I am not just talking about Halloween! We were blessed with one of the all time greatest singers in the world, Mariah Carey! CH was ecstatic when we received the news that Mariah would be gracing us with an exclusive interview. We had a “grocery” list of requests from students to adults that wanted to be near Mariah when the interview went down. This month Celebrity High covers fantastic Halloween events that you cannot miss. Also, in this issue a student writes about a very personal story in regards to immigration. With SAT test taking going on right now CH decided to share some cool tips and trick that you cannot miss that may help you keep your score aiming for the stars. We also are keeping you posted with the latest football schedule, so you can keep your school spirit high and support your hardworking teams. Respectfully, Coline Witt PS. Please stay safe this spooky Halloween season.


Distribution Birmingham, Canoga, Chatsworth, Cleveland, El Camino Real, Granada Hills, High Tech High, Kennedy, Miller, Monroe, Reseda, Sherman Oaks Center for enriched studies, Ta , Valley Alternative, Panorama, Arleta, East Valley, Grant, North Hollywood, Polytechnic, San Fernando, Sylmar, Van Nuys, Verdugo Hills, Crenshaw, Dorsey, Hamilton, Laces, Los Angeles, Marlton, McBride, University, Venice, Westchester, Widney, Belmont, Contreras, Downtown Magnet, Eagle Rock, Fairfax, Franklin, Hollywood, Los Angeles School of Global Studies, Marshall, Highland Park, Newmark, Whitman, Bravo Medical Magnet, Boyle Heights, Garfeild, Je erson, Lincoln, Monterey, New Tech Je erson, Orthopaedic, Angeles, Ramona, Roosevelt, Santee Education complex, Wilson, Bell High, Elizabeth learning, Huntington Park High, Odyssey, San Antonio, Southeast High, International Studies, Southgate, Fremont, Hope, Jordan, king drew med mag, Locke, Manuel Arts, Riley, Rodia, Trith, West Adams, Youth Opportunity Unlimited,Banning High, Carson, Gardena, Narbonne, San Pedro, Washington. CH is also distributed to local 7 Eleven and grocery stores


06 09 12 16 18





he SAT seeks to identify students who will perform well in higher education by testing their ability to understand and solve problems. For this reason, it asks questions testing your skills in mathematics, critical reading and writing so universities can compare the abilities of their applicants. The SAT is a measure of what you have learned in your grade school education. It shows colleges a general picture of your academic aptitude, although it is in no way a deciding factor of your intelligence. Below are some tips and tricks that may help your selective process.


1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11.

Know what type of questions to expect on the SAT. The questions include * 19 sentence completion * 40 reading comprehension * 35 math multiple-choices * 10 student-produced responses Write in the book. You can write in the test book: cross out wrong answers; do scratch work., etc. to make sure you’re getting it right. Take care when filling in the answer grid for the student-produced response questions. Avoid stray marks on the answer sheet. A machine scores your test and can’t distinguish between a correct answer and a careless doodle. Easy questions usually precede hard ones. Mark only one answer per question. Skip any question if you haven’t the faintest idea about the answer. You don’t lose points. Understand the scoring! You get a point for a right answer. You lose a fractional point for a wrong answer. There is no deduction for omitted answers, or for wrong answers in the math section’s student-produced response questions. Keep checking that you are placing your answer in the correct section and number on the answer sheet. Don’t spend too much time on any one question. You should spend only seconds on the easiest questions, and hesitate to spend more than 1-2 minutes on even the hardest ones. Practice, practice, practice! allotted for each one and how much time remains.

12. Remember that the SAT consists of a series of small, timed, mini-tests. Keep track of the time you’re 13. 15. 16.
Bring a watch to the test center. You can’t be guaranteed that there will be a working clock.

14. Don’t change an answer unless you’re sure you made an error.
Guess if you can eliminate at least one choice. Read the words in the question carefully. Be sure to answer the question asked and not the question you recall from a practice test.

For more information on how to successfully prepare for the SAT/ACT visit



Does the


lmost everyone has dropped food on the floor and still wanted to eat it. Some people apply the “5-second rule” — that random saying about how food won’t become contaminated with bacteria if you pick it up off the floor in 5 seconds or less. The 5-second rule has become such a part of our culture that scientists actually tested it. As you can probably guess, they found that the “rule” is mostly myth: Bacteria can attach to food even if you pick it up super fast. So, depending on which types of bacteria happen to climb on board, you could still get sick. Here are two facts to consider whenever you feel tempted by the 5-second rule:


Rule Really

A CleAn-lOOking FlOOr iSn’T neCeSSArily CleAn. A shiny linoleum floor is probably cleaner than a 1970s-era carpet. But even clean, dry floors can harbor bacteria. Newly washed floors are only as clean as the tools used to wash them (picture eating food off the mop in the cafeteria if you need a visual). Even with a brand-new mop or sponge, stubborn germs can still remain on the floor after cleaning. FAST iS BeTTer — BuT iT MAy nOT Be FAST enOugH. Although a piece of food does pick up more bacteria the longer it’s on the floor, bacteria can attach to it instantly. So any food that makes contact with the floor can get contaminated if conditions are right. And foods with wet surfaces, like an apple slice, pick up bacteria easily. WHen in DOuBT, TOSS iT OuT Some bacteria are not harmful. But others can torture you with miserable stuff like diarrhea. Even if there’s no visible dirt on your food, you can still get sick. You just can’t tell what kinds of bacteria may be lurking on the floor. So what are you to do with the piece of watermelon that just slipped from your grip? The safest choice is to throw it out. Or let the dog have it. (And there’s another thing to consider — even the 5-second rule can’t get around the fact that your food may have landed right in a spot where Fido parked his butt.)
© 1995-2009. The Nemours Foundation/KidsHealth®. Reprinted with permission.

Rule Really


events Does the
This award-winning performing-arts series presents a diverse range of international and local artists in more than 40 free productions of music, dance, theater and film. California Plaza, 350 S. Grand Ave. For information, call 213-687-2159 or 213-687-2190.


performs frequently at the Walt Disney Concert Hall, 111 S. Grand Ave. For information and tickets, call 323-850-2000. Continues through early June 2010 More than 100 artists open their studios to the public at one of the world’s largest artist colonies. Brewery Art Colony, 2100 N. Main St. For information, call 323-342-0717. The Los Angeles Clippers play regular-season home games at the Staples Center, 1111 S. Figueroa St. For tickets, call 213-742-7555, or 888-895-8662. Season continues through mid April 2010

This Halloween street party draws more than 400,000 costumed revelers to Santa Monica Boulevard between La Cienega Boulevard and LaPeer Street. For information, call the West Hollywood Convention and Visitors Bureau at 310-289-2525, or toll-free 800-368-6020.


The American Film Institute presents nearly 100 of the year’s most important films from around the world at various cinemas in Los Angeles. Films are presented in their original languages with subtitles in English. For information, call 866-234-3378. Continues through mid November


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Mariah C
e are “Obsessed” when it comes to Mariah Carey. R&B singer, songwriter, record producer, and actress made her recording debut in 1990. She became the first recording artist to have her first five singles top the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart. MC is well-known for her vocal range and use of the whistle register. She is ranked as the best-selling female artist of the U.S. Nielsen Sound scan era and third-best-selling artist overall. Mariah Carey gets up-close and personal talking about her husband Nick Cannon, her secret to success and high school just to name a few in this highly anticipated exclusive.


By Kacey Cage

CH: Where did the inspiration to name your latest record “Memoirs of an imperfect Angel” come from? MC: The inspiration for the name of the album came from a few places. Minnie Riperton, who is one of my favorites had a classic album called Perfect Angel back in the day so I was sort of paying homage but I also wanted women and young girls to know we should all embrace our imperfections because none of us are perfect. CH: What is your favorite song on the album and why? MC: I don’t have a favorite, I love them all. This is truly a complete body of work. But I do spend a lot of time listening to “The Impossible” CH: What was some of the hardest obstacles you over came in your career and what helped you overcome the hurdle? MC: Some obstacles earlier on, were that a lot of people wouldn’t allow me to be me. I had to be strong enough to work through people not understanding who I really was. I eventually just had to break free and not worry about what others wanted me to be. My music helped me through that struggle CH: What would you say is your strongest attribute? MC: My tenacity is my strongest attribute. Never giving up CH: What is your favorite thing to do in your free time? MC: One of my favorite things to do is lying in bed watching movies and eating popcorn CH: What is a day in the life of Mariah Carey? MC: A day in the life is usually a hectic schedule from the moment I wake up, but I sleep in really late since I am a night owl. But the day usually consists of interviews and writing, and hanging out with my husband. CH: What were you like in high school? MC: I was tough! LOL! CH: Did you ever think when you were a teenager in high school that you would become one of the top selling female artist of all time? MC: I always knew I wanted to be an artist and I wanted to give my all to achieve success. So I guess you can say I wanted it from early on, but I

never imagined that I would be so blessed. CH: you are consistent when it comes to releasing number one singles, what do you think your secret ingredient to that success is? MC: The secret is just to have fun with the music. And to make sure songs evoke emotion. CH: What are your aspirations in regards to your acting career or what can we expect? MC: I just want to continue to challenge myself. I like Roles that allow me to dive deep into character. CH: you have held 20 years strong and leading in the music industry as far as consistency is concerned, where do you see yourself in the next ten years? MC: I don’t really think about time. You can never worry too much about the past or the future. We have to enjoy the present. Live in the moment. But whatever life brings I just wish to continue to be happy. CH: After your release of your recent single “Obsessed” eminem has fired back, do you plan on entertaining “eminem’s” recent antics? MC: I don’t even know who that is! LOL I wrote that song for all y’all! It’s like; you remember what it was like in school when a stupid boy would nag you or pull your hair because he really liked you. And he would make up stuff and start rumors just for attention. Its like, “Why are you so obsessed?!” It’s an anthem for all those people! You know! CH: Do you and your husband nick Cannon have any projects that you are jointly working on? MC: Nick and I would love to work on something together one day. You never know, it will have to be a comedy though. We are both jokesters CH: Over the years you have worked with various artist, from Whitney Houston to hip hop artist like Snoop Dogg and P.Diddy to producers such as Jermain Dupri, who would you say is your favorite and why? MC: I can’t pick! I have worked with so many people like you have named and also people like Pavarati, Luther Vandross, Michael Jackson. I just like working with all artist. CH: is there anything you would like to say to Celebrity High readers? MC: I love you Celebrity High. Air kisses!


o you feel like you’re auditioning for the sequel to “Mean Girls”? Have you had it up to your well-groomed eyebrows with the tricks of your clique? Do you hate following the dress code of your clique but think you’ll be dropped if you don’t? Are you holding back on approaching someone you’d like to be friends with because you think she’s in a group that’s out of your league? Are you concerned about whether you’ll still be included this year at school or whether you’ll feel like an outcast — or worse, be picked on? Whether you’re on the outside looking in or the inside wanting out, it can help to know what makes cliques tick. WHAT’S THe DiFFerenCe BeTWeen A grOuP OF FrienDS AnD A Clique? Friendship or special interest groups are normal and healthy. It’s nice to feel you belong and fit in. It’s good to know you have friends to hang out with. Being part of a group can help people develop relationship skills, feel close to others, get and give support, share ideas, discover what’s important to them, and have fun. Usually, friendship groups form around the things people have in common. So jocks, Goths, preps, skaters, and even the math club are naturally drawn together because they share similar interests. The people in these groups feel they have a place where they are welcome and supported, and where they can be themselves, quirks and all. Some groups stick together for a long time. Others drift apart after a while as people develop new interests, make different friends, or just find they have less in common. People can move in and out of different groups and can even be part of several at the same time. Even within a group, people often have one or two friends they feel closest to and enjoy the most. Some friendship groups seem pretty flexible and welcome people to join in. Others seem much more restricted, though. People in these groups make it clear that not just anyone can be part


of their crowd. That type of restricted group is sometimes called a clique. What’s the Deal With Cliques? Cliques are tight groups that usually have a strict code of membership and ways to act. Instead of being centered on shared values and beliefs, many cliques tend to focus on maintaining their status and popularity. For instance, a certain clique may try to make it seem like the people in the clique are “better” than those outside, or that their clique is higher status than another clique. People in cliques sometimes use their power to hurt others on purpose, either by excluding them, being mean, or both. Sometimes they might insult people by trying to “fix” them or give them “makeovers.” Sometimes it becomes more serious and someone outside the group is targeted or victimized for being, looking, or acting different. Unlike regular groups of friends, where members are free to socialize with others outside the group, people in cliques do everything together. They sit together in class, go to the mall together after school — and they only do stuff with other clique members or people they decide are “cool.” Although people might think it’s better to belong to a clique than to be excluded, many times people in cliques end up dealing with lots of pressures and rules. They soon start to worry about whether they’ll continue to be popular or whether they’ll be dropped. After a while, they may begin to realize that true friends wouldn’t be so bossy or demanding. WHy DO CliqueS ATTrACT PeOPle? Cliques attract people for different reasons: For some people, being popular or cool is the most important thing, and cliques give them a place where they can get this social status. Other people want to be in cliques because they don’t like to feel left out. Some people simply feel it’s better to be on the inside than the outside (it’s not, but more on that later). Cliques give people who like to take control a chance to be in charge (for good or bad!). For people who feel more comfortable following, they

offer a place where rules are clearly defined. It’s usually clear to clique members what they need to do to fit in. Sometimes that means sacrificing some freedom and following the leader rather than doing what you feel like doing. Clique membership is usually tightly controlled by the leaders. These social gatekeepers are the ones with the power to decide who should be hot and who should not. This type of membership control usually happens in cliques of girls. As many great kids have found, entry into a clique isn’t guaranteed. In fact, a girl who is seen as likeable and popular may actually be excluded from belonging to a clique. That’s because her personality or confidence may pose a threat to the leaders. She may not be a good “follower” — especially if she can be popular enough on her own. Sometimes her friends may even be invited to join when she isn’t. Clique members may deliberately exclude her in an attempt to take away her perceived power or the threat they think she could pose. Cliques aren’t just for girls. Guys form cliques too — usually around a sport, computer game, or type of clothing or music. They can be just as mean as girls about the outcasts of the social group. THe vieW FrOM THe inSiDe It’s not all roses inside a clique either. A person’s standing within the group can always be under threat. Most of the followers cling to the leader not out of true friendship but because they want to keep their position in the group. But even the leader can lose her power. In fact, the queen bee in a strong girl clique probably worries as much — or even more — about being popular and accepted as the outsiders do. Because no one feels secure, clique members often use the tools of flattery, humiliation, or rumors to manipulate situations and preserve their status. A few girls manage to stay friends with people both inside and outside the clique. But that can be hard to do because there’s often intense pressure from the group to be friends only with people on the approved list. It takes a lot of self-confidence to dare to be friends with someone outside the clique.




Although people might think it’s better to belong to A clique thAn to be excluded, mAny times people in cliques end up deAling with lots of pressures And rules. they soon stArt to worry About whether they’ll continue to be populAr or whether they’ll be dropped.
that aren’t important to you. If you’re on the outside and feeling left out, getting involved in things that interest you is a great way to find a sense of belonging, help you feel valued, and take your mind off a group that’s not welcoming. If you don’t have friends at school, join a volunteer group (helping others or the environment can make you feel good about yourself). Keep your social circles open and diverse. Cliques can be very limiting in the way they control how members look, think, dress, and behave. Don’t let them make you miss out on getting to know people who may become close friends. If you’re on the outside, it can help to find a close friend or group of friends whose values, goals, and behaviors fit in with yours. The support and genuine caring you get will keep you from feeling so defenseless when the mean girls tease and bully. Sometimes just knowing that clique members are probably insecure can limit their power over you. SPeAk OuT. If you feel your group of friends is turning into a clique, take a stand for your beliefs. Be prepared that the clique might go on without you (remember those girls who feel threatened by someone else’s strength). But there’s also a chance that others might follow your lead and stop acting so clique-y. If it’s too hard to get up the courage to speak out, you still don’t have to participate in things that feel wrong. And if you’re on the outside and know that a clique is bullying or intimidating others, let teachers or counselors know about it. Have a mind of your own. Be sensitive to others and don’t go along with what you don’t believe is right — even if others are doing it. You are the only one responsible for your behavior. True friends will respect your mind, your rights, and your independent choices. Try not to be intimidated. If you your crush is on the “outside,” ask him or her out anyway. It can feel good to mix things up a little. Friendships change. Just as one clique can make life miserable, changes in social groups can take their power away. You may encounter cliques as a freshman or sophomore. But the good news is that most cliques have disappeared by the end of high school. Want to know the real secret to being popular and having friends? Be a good friend yourself. People who enjoy true and lasting popularity are those who have good friendship skills. Being a friend means being respectful, fair, interested, trustworthy, honest, caring, and kind. So if you want to have friends, be just the kind of friend you’d like to have.

Sometimes clique members decide they want out. They don’t like being limited by the rules, and they don’t like leaving others out and hurting people’s feelings. As people get older, they may not feel like being part of a clique anymore. Usually toward the end of high school, kids are more relaxed about who is “in” and who is not. But earlier on in your school life it can take a lot of courage to leave a clique or decide to remain on the outside. Surviving CliqueS Whether you’re on the inside or the outside, cliques can make your life tough. But there are ways to cope: knOW yOurSelF — and your reputation. Now is a time for getting in touch with your values, interests, and beliefs. If you’re encountering cliques, it’s a good opportunity to ask yourself some self-discovery questions about what you and your true friends give each other. Do you want to be part of a group because you need to feel accepted or because you actually share their values? Has your group of friends morphed into something you don’t like? How do your friends influence the way people think about you? Does this make you feel good or bad? STAy invOlveD in activities that make you feel good about yourself. If you’re in a clique, don’t let the group pressure you into giving up things you love or spending time and money on things


FOOtball Schedule
Oct-01 Sherman Oaks CTR/Enriched Study @ View Park Prep Charter Jackie Robinson Stadium Oct-02 Panorama Senior High @ Thomas Jefferson Senior High Oct-02 Chatsworth Senior @ Locke Oct-02 Birmingham Senior @ Dorsey Oct-02 Manual Arts @ Lincoln (LA) Lincoln HS Oct-02 Crenshaw @ Culver City Oct-09 Firebaugh HS @ Manual Arts Expo Center Oct-09 Dorsey @ Mira Mesa 7:00pm 3:00pm 3:00pm 7:00pm 7:00pm 7:00pm 3:00pm 7:00pm

October Varsity

Oct-09 Discovery Charter School @ View Park Prep Charter Jackie Robinson Stadium 7:00pm Oct-09 Thomas Jefferson Senior High @ San Pedro Oct-15New Designs Charter School @ View Park Prep Charter Jackie Robinson Std Oct-16 Thomas Jefferson Senior High @ Dorsey Oct-16 Manual Arts @ Crenshaw Crenshaw HS Oct-17 John C Fremont @ Locke Oct-22 Animo Jackie Robinson @ View Park Prep Charter Oct-23 Thomas Jefferson Senior High @ Locke Oct-23 Manual Arts @ Dorsey Oct-23 Crenshaw @ John C Fremont Oct-30 Dorsey @ John C Fremont Oct-30 Manual Arts @ Thomas Jefferson Senior High Oct-30 Animo South Los Angeles @ View Park Prep Charter Jackie Robinson Std Oct-30 Locke @ Crenshaw 7:00pm 7:00pm 7:00pm 7:00pm 1:00pm 7:00pm 3:00pm 7:00pm 7:00pm 4:00pm 7:00pm 7:00pm 7:00PM



CH: There are many acts of ethnic cleansing all around the world, why did you decide to focus on Darfur? CA: I walked out of a screening of Hotel Rwanda a few years back and was incredibly shaken by the story and how the world just sat idly by as these atrocities happened. Then it hit me, that it is all happening all over again, this time in Darfur. It was a heart breaking moment to say the least as I walked to my nice little car, drove home to my comfortable apt, realizing all the time, that there is a whole population of people in the midst of a genocide and we are doing nothing about it. There is no way I could drive home and not take action. How could I be so moved and judgmental of the world for not taking care of Rwanda and not do anything about Darfur? It prompted me to join Save Darfur, attend events, and then finally, start this concert series. CH: Can you describe what is happening in Darfur/Sudan? CA: The Arab Muslims are attempting to eradicate the African Muslims from the area, and have almost succeeded by either killing them or making them flee to Chad into the refugee camps. There are reports of mass rape, killings, (of women, men and children). CH: How did the organization come about? CA: Anita, my partner in this journey, used to attend the Save Darfur and JWW events with me. We went to the big JWW walk in April and realized there that we needed to do our own event and not just be an attendee and donor to these events. Anita is from the Congo so she also wanted to create a voice for the Eastern Congo where unspeakable atrocities are occurring. CH: How many events do you have annually to help the cause? CA: This last one was our first. It took a month to negotiate with the Knitting Factory for the space, so when they finally agreed to donate the whole venue, we had weeks to organize the whole event. It was a little insane, but it was our first time out that gate and we received a huge learning experience. Through it, we created a brand and model for future events. We plan to throw 3-4 every year and are in the process of forming an umbrella 501c3 called The “Rise Up” Coalition or Charity for Charities, we have not decided. CH: What is the purpose of the events? CA: The purpose of the events is to literally rise up the next generation of global activists. We encourage this goal by bringing together some of the hottest and most activist groups in global activism, put them all in one room, develop an entertaining night of music and multimedia that will attract the masses, and then use sexy and exciting ways to get the crowds excited about the cause. Many of these groups work separate from one another-they all have their different ways of approaching the issues “Save Darfur” is all about political action. “JWW” is all about working in the trenches of Darfur and Congo. “Amnesty” is about petitions. “Enough” is about working in the Congo, and Stop Genocide. “Now” is all about bringing a piece of Darfur to the US to illicit action. We decided to have them all in the same room and allow the concertgoer to pick which one fits their fancy. It is all about options in our culture and we want to provide every option available to our concertgoers so we meet them right where they are at in their life. I don’t think anyone else is doing that on a routine basis. We want to form a tight union that all agrees on this overall objective; to empower. These concerts are about the concertgoer, they are about empowerment and they are about motivation. Our concerts strive to give you that opportunity. CH: What do you expect people to gain from the events? CA: We want every concert attendee to feel that they are being funded as opposed to funding the event. There were many moments in this past event where we were all a part of something bigger than ourselves, beyond a concert, beyond a night out in Hollywood, but a communal effort to do whatever it could to help end these horrible issues. If 10% of the concertgoers walk out of the venue feeling that they can take on the world’s problems and feel like they now have the tools to do so, then we have reached our goal. At the same time, we want the other 90% to feel like they heard great music, met wonderful people, gave their money to an awesome cause, and come back for the next one. CH: Where do we go to join or donate to the movement? CA: email and let us know you want to hear about the next event. As for donations, right now all of our money is going to Save Darfur, JWW, and Enough! However, once the 501c3 is official then we will be accepting donations to fund the umbrella organization which will bring everyone together under one roof. We are putting together our team right now, so if you are a grant writer or in PR we would love to talk to you!

Saving Darfur
he faces of Darfur are images of hurt, rape, neglect, hate and death. These are faces of mothers, brothers, sisters, friends and enemies. These are faces that represent us and what we have neglected. What has the definition of right and wrong dissolved into when we can look at these images and not feel or act? How can we be silent when the voice of suffrage is so loud? Many people have created organizations in order to successfully voice their concerns about hateful acts happening in our world. The Save Darfur organization, for example, has created a method to successfully unveil what is happening around us. Christian Anderson, CO-Founder of the movement elaborates on the cause:

Dreams amily
of an Immigrant
One family risks it all for the hope of a better future and a better life. How their journey for hope can inspire everyone to dream.



By Ana Salmeron

ost people reach America by plane, but my family did not. My parents were not born in this country, they came here illegally, becoming one of the 12 to 20 million families who have done so in hopes of a better future. I was born here, and I consider myself lucky to have been because the opportunities it provides are the greatest things my parents wanted for me. My father came first. At the time he found himself living in a country that was poor and oppressive. It was no longer possible for him to support his family safely so he began to dream of a place where he could achieve the most basic of all human desires; hope. For him, coming to America was like running towards hope for his children’s future. It would be years before I would be born as the realization of that hope, but my mother and two older brothers were more than enough inspiration. It was not an easy journey. The truth is that crossing into the U.S. illegally is a risky proposition. Illegals risk injury, capture, and even death. Others survive the journey only to find complete misery as they are sometimes taken hostage, extorted or simply unable to find work. But,

my father was one of the lucky ones. He found support from relatives already residing in California who provided a place to live and helped him find work. He used the money he made to send for my mom. As difficult as my dad’s journey was, my mother’s was even more so. Civil war had ravaged her country, killing thousands. She nearly faced death when a bomb flew over her head as she clutched my brother in her arms. She was nearly caught crossing the Mexican border , and though she made it she lived with the daily pain of missing the two sons she was forced to leave behind. My parents reunited in the U.S. I was born awhile later; the realization their dream for a child born with the hope they fought so hard for. My younger brother was born after that, but my parents still couldn’t fully realize their dream until our whole family was reunited and they worked tirelessly to make that happen. Over the years, they were able to become permanent residents but their greatest happiness, the day it all really became a dream come true for them was February 2, 2008, the day we were reunited with my two older brothers.

I was there when my brothers arrived. My mother’s eyes were filled with tears of joy and happiness as she saw her two oldest sons for the first time in 16 years; no longer the little boys she left behind but now full grown men. For my Dad I think it may have been even more powerful. Because he had to leave when he did he saw in my oldest brother ‘Pancho’ the son he hadn’t seen in over a decade but in my second brother he saw the son he had never met. He did not have to tell us how he felt; it was all written all over his face. My entire family are now legal residents of California, reunited, with many hopes for the future. Sometimes people ask me why anyone would go through all of that, but I think the answer is very simple. The answer is a question, “what would you do to save your family and give them hope? What wouldn’t you give or risk to see them have a chance at better?” For my parents the answer is that they would stop at nothing; my parents chased hope for their children’s future and caught it. I think most people feel the same, and for those that do I hope my story shows them that if you chase your dream hard enough sooner or later you will catch them!



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