Originally published in Spanish

Overcoming adversity

Originally appeared online in the teen series Trending -  February 28, 2023

It was time to begin applying to high schools. During the last year of middle school, every student in the New York City public school system has to go through this process. 

I had excellent grades, and I chose to apply to some competitive high schools, but my guidance counselor decided not to submit my application to any of those schools. In fact, he took it upon himself to submit an application to a local vocational high school. I didn’t find this out until I learned that several students with much lower test scores than mine had been accepted into some of the schools I had wanted to attend. By then the deadline had passed for me to apply to any of my top schools.

When I asked the guidance counselor why he had done this, he said that little girls should never go far from where they belong. I was very petite, a person of color, and a first-generation immigrant. Our family had left El Salvador for the United States when I was three or four. I thought the man’s comment was misogynistic and racist. It seemed that everyone expected so little of people who looked like me. 

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