Congratulations to the graduating class and their families.

I saw them go by with their long formal graduation robes. The students looked proud of themselves and their families felt the time,money and effort was worthwhile.

Graduation day is for many a top achievement, for many others is the end of a dream.

For several years teachers, school corporations and many others kept telling the students that they only have to try hard, “echarle ganas’ and then they will have the golden key that will open doors to higher education and a better life.

Some of them signed up for programs like Twenty first Century Scholars in Indiana which would allow them a full scholarship in any Indiana college for four years if they fulfilled their commitment to keep out of any illicit activities, have a 2.0 grade average and graduate from high school. The people involved in the registration process knew that many of them were undocumented. Nevertheless the hope was that by the time of graduation their situation would have changed. In most cases that did not happened. One good thing came out of the promise. They learned to keep focused on the goal. They kept their end of the deal, but they still have no documents and that means they might get into a college, but they will have no access to loans or scholarships. Also, the possibility of working as they study is out of the question, since they have no proper documents to work.

These students will become a generation of people that we have failed. They were brought to this country years ago. Their family and friends are here. Some of them even though they speak Spanish, do not know enough Spanish to go to college in their countries of origin. They have no family system to go back to.

Since they arrived to US, they were told to learn English, learn the new culture and behave as part of their new country.

Nowadays, the graduates find that they have no country, no language and no culture that will really embrace them and that would open doors for them.

Why do our students drop out from school? Maybe they are been realistic. They know that with or without a diploma there is no place for them here, so why bother?

What a waste of talent and opportunities! The Latino children share the resilience and resistance of their communities. They are natural fighters that have survived the economic and social pressure that new students have in this country. They have seen their families struggle and they know that struggling is a way of life. I know they will be strong and our hopes lie with them. The community has invested a lot in them and if we are willing to find new for new ways to favor the younger generations, then, we will be walking in the right direction.

Mean while, let’s celebrate this success. Hard times bring about ingenuity and alertness. Hard times give strength, wisdom and discipline. This new graduating generation knows that life is not easy, but they can accomplish anything they set their minds to do!

As the new political season approaches, we will be hearing nice words and promises for our communities. Every Latino that can vote should exercise the right to vote, after carefully discerning who is offering what and what kind of record the candidate has. The future of the next group of graduates is linked to your reflection and vote.