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My family and I immigrated to the United States when I was just seven years old. Although it was very hard for my parents to leave their home and family behind in El Salvador, they were motivated to give me and my siblings a better life in the United States. Knowing that my parents made so many sacrifices to give me a better life, I have always strived to do well in school because going to college has always been my American Dream While I have always been motivated by the desire to succeed and provide for my family, it was really what I left behind in El Salvador that has always given me my purpose in life and motivated me to strive academically.
When I was a child in El Salvador, I knew many children my age who lived on the streets and starved every day. Poverty was all around me, and unfortunately, not much has changed today. Education has never been a priority in El Salvador. Public schools charge a yearly fee, which many families simply cannot afford. In addition, public schools lack basic materials for students, which means their parents have to pay for them. This is a tremendous burden for poor families because most of the population makes as little as pennies per hour and must save every bit they make to simply feed their children. In El Salvador, children are not even required to attend school; unlike the United States, there are no laws which make school attendance mandatory. Instead, many children go straight to work in often very dangerous conditions simply to bring some additional income home to their parents. Child labor is not illegal and many factories often exploit children since there are few laws to protect them.
My mission in life and the reason why I want to go to college is to one day establish the first free public school in El Salvador, based on the public school system in the United States. I envision an El Salvador where children can come to a safe school, and have access to all the materials they need in order to learn basic subjects such as math, science and writing. My hope is that by obtaining an education, those children, like myself, can have a brighter future and can help their families to get out of the poverty that is so prevalent in the country. My hope is that one free public school can lead to another and another and eventually lead to a public school system that will allow access for all Salvadorians.
I realize this might seem like a tremendous task. In order to achieve my goal of establishing a true public school system in El Salvador, I may first have to change certain laws and work with various government and non-profit agencies to obtain the appropriate funds for my project. However, I know that I can do any of these things as long as I have a college degree.
It has been many years since we left El Salvador and though I now consider myself an American, I will never forget where I came from and will always be motivated by my desire to one day make my homeland a better place for all those so similar to me.
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