"All I ever wanted was to become a lawyer. Where other girls dreamed of becoming princesses, I dreamt of the day I would eventually be eligible to be a judge. I am a first-generation student. My family fled the violence plaguing our country and for a long time I didn’t believe that I was ever going to be able to attend college. I was a janitor for almost ten years before I found the courage to pursue my education. Growing up I was told all the reasons why I would fail: I am a girl. I grew up in an abusive, economically poor home. I did not have the resources. Yet here I am.
I know that the American dream is a labor of hard work and imagination, of not giving up when the road gets hard. I have worked hard at achieving the American Dream since I first arrived in the United States. I do not see limits, but obstacles that I must overcome. I have been told many times that one person cannot change the world, but time and time again I see how wrong that statement is. A college education is an investment in my community, an opportunity to help others improve their lives.
Receiving an HDF scholarship has given me the opportunity to pursue my goals, and it has also opened my eyes to the impact of the Hispanic and Latino community in this country that we call home. America is a country of many cultures and ethnicities, a country where diversity and differences don’t mean chaos but strength. I am a woman, a GED recipient, a Hispanic immigrant, a non-traditional student, an American. There are millions of people just like me residing in the USA, and studying law will allow me the opportunity to better represent them, and to come from a place of understanding.
Without the support of the Hispanic Development Fund I wouldn’t be able to achieve my goals, but even more so, the idea that my community believes in me and my dream helps me work harder and overcome any struggles coming my way."
— Cecilia Lopez, JD student at the University of Kansas School of Law