Why Should You Go to College?
By Antonio Rosales
Excerpt of an address given at the
“Undocumented Student Forum”
March 30, 2011
Redwood City, California
Why should you go to college?
You have no choice
You can do this
You are not alone
You are curious and want to know and explore
You are courageous and want to try
You are a human being and want to make a change
You are unique and want to leave a mark on this world
You are interested in knowing how a country functions
You want to know who controls you (us)
You want to be the best economist
You want to protect your dear brothers who work in the fields and are dying doing so
You want to improve the living conditions of those living in barrios and ghettos
You want to fight for the underdogs
You want to build the best bridge
You want to punish evil acts
You want to set things right
You want to make the Universal Declaration of Human Rights a reality and not just a written document
You care about the well-being of your brothers, sisters, coworkers, classmates, and neighbors
You know the world functions better when we educate ourselves
You know there is so much work to do and want to reduce the load on others
You have so much knowledge and talent to share with us
You are gifted
You love yourself and wish we could all love each other
You are thankful to the people who have helped you
You know there is a great deal of people who trust you and innately believe in you
You want to show your gratitude to the world
You were born to make a change
You want to improve democracy
You do not want to let anyone down, especially yourself
You know life is short
Because, my brothers and sisters, you are worriers whose shield is your intellect
Because you want to leave a better world for your beloved ones
Because you can no longer tolerate the lies that bombard you every day
Because you just woke up this morning and saw your face in the mirror and for the first time
you questioned yourself about
your human duties on the planet...........................
Because, you just want to
 Antonio Rosales is a graduate of Cañada College. He graduated from San Francisco State University with a bachelor's degree in May, 2012 and is currently preparing to apply to graduate school.
Lead the Path
by Gerardo Pacheco
Address given at the
“Undocumented Student Forum”
Redwood City, California
March 30, 2011
Good morning to all of you. It’s a pleasure to be here.
On many occasions I was told that I wasn’t going to make it. Many of my friends, family members and even teachers believed that I wasn’t going to make it. People doubted my ability to face hardships. But I proved them wrong. I was able to graduate from the ESL program here at Cañada College and transfer to a four year university. Now I’m only two semesters away from getting my Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing at San Francisco State University.
I’m making it, and I’m standing here to tell you that it can be done even though you’re told it can’t be done.
Going to college hasn’t been easy for me. I had to face lots of personal, social and financial challenges in order to go on with my academic goals. But I took these challenges as I believe that education is the key to become a better human being. It has been a long, harsh and tedious journey in which I wish someone had told me that the road is not easy for undocumented students.
I wish someone had told that at the end of the road there are no opportunities for students who don’t have an identity in this country.
I wish someone had told me that undocumented students are punished even though we’re trying to turn around our lives and make a positive impact in this country.
I wish someone had told me that undocumented students have fewer chances to reach higher education and complete it.
I wish someone had told me that the American Dream is only that – a dream that for many undocumented students never comes true, unless our federal government allows us to stay in this country. We are part of this great nation.
The journey hasn’t been easy. It’ll never be. I’m always fighting the disability of not having an identity in this country, a disability that I believe no human being should ever face, not in this country, or in any.
And, yes, I’m worried about our future because we’re punished for having to cross the desert, risking our lives only to come here to study because in our native countries there are no opportunities due to the government’s corruption and special interests.
Yes, I’m worried about the fact than in two semesters I’ll be looking for a job, but because of my legal status I’ll be turned down.
Yes, I’m scared because our government denies me the opportunity to be a citizen of this great country even though I have grown up here, have studied and have become a scholar. I have proved I am part of this great nation.
I only want to help this country move forward. Is that a crime? If it is, I should be punished. But I know that the undocumented community is the backbone of this community. We are helping this country and that’s not a crime.
You shouldn’t feel afraid or intimidated by anyone. You’re in the right place. My only advice for you today is to study, study and study, until our federal government pulls the plug, or gives us an identity. There are many opportunities out there for students like us. We only have to know who the best person to trust is.
Once, I was told by one of the greatest teachers I have ever known that “the money comes whenever you’re ready to move forward. You only have to study hard and prove you can make it.”
The journey isn’t going to be easy. It won’t ever be. It’ll get hard and difficult. However, it’s your duty to make a better path for those who are coming behind you. It’s your duty to work hard and prove that it can be done. I believe that undocumented students work hard to prove that it can be done.
We should lift our heads up and lead the Path.
 Gerardo Pacheco attended Cañada College. After graduating from Cañada, he transferred to San Francisco State University. There at SFSU, he graduated with a Bachelor’s degree. He was accepted into a competitive creative writing graduate program at SFSU and is a candidate for the Master of Fine Arts - Poetry. Recipient of the 2012 Joseph Henry Jackson Award winner, a literary award offered annually to promising young California writers, Mr. Pacheco is a great friend of Cañada College Library, where he frequently comes to read and write, enjoying the library’s peace and adding to its beauty with his writing.
In this essay, Antonio Rosales explores the meaning of citizenship. It's not just about one person's status. It's about creating a space for wisdom and higher levels of consciousness.
"Citizenship gives me the fuel to seek humanistic wisdom. The road to become fully civilized, fully conscious, meaning we act in accordance to our innermost humane thoughts, is long, but citizenship can give me this. I can start walking on such road, toward that direction by becoming the conductor of my thoughts; the driver of my own humane desires; the soldier of my philosophy, who is armed not with weapons, but who is armed with ideals, character, decision, and perseverance."