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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Dreamer’s Scholarship qualifies for endowment status

The Ignacio Ellacuria S.J. Dreamer’s Scholarship is awarded to undocumented students who would have benefitted from government assistance they could not receive. Photo via Karen Itzelle Medina

The Second Annual Dreamer’s Gala provided a full crowd, positive atmosphere and big news for donors.

The Ignacio Ellacuria, S.J. Dreamer’s Scholarship Fund received $25,000 collectively from donors March 23. This brings their total funds to $50,000, which is the minimum required for endowment status.

“It takes a minimum of $50,000 to start to generate interest,” said Eduardo Perea-Hernandez, one of the co-chairs for the Gala planning committee. “Now that we have it, we’re in a good place.”

The Ignacio Ellacuria S.J. Dreamer’s Scholarship is awarded to undocumented students who would have benefitted from government assistance they could not receive. Undocumented students do not have social security numbers to qualify for federal aid, so the scholarship can seriously aid some of its recipients.

“It’s good to see scholarships like this,” Yesica Camacho, Internship Director at Carmen High School, said. “It’s upsetting when these students work so hard and you can’t tell them that there’s something out there for them after high school. This scholarship gives them hope.”

The event began with a 45-minute long networking period. Various members from all around Milwaukee mingled during this time, including Fr. Timothy Manatt, S.J., the pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish and St. Patrick Parish. He says his two parishes are on the predominantly Latino south side.

“I am one of many here to allay fears in these times,” Manatt said. “I’m showing support for my parishioners.”

After this period, Marquette students Luis Jimenez and Karen Medina gave welcome statements for the event. A three-course dinner was served shortly after. While dinner was being served, the Rondalla Voces y Guitarras de Milwaukee mariachi band serenaded the audience with Mexican classics.

After dinner, the speaking circuit began with a testimonial by Valeria Navarro, an undocumented student who graduated from Marquette in December 2016. Navarro was involved in Greek life during her time at Marquette and studied at the Les Aspin Center in Washington, D.C.

“My education was the only thing that would make my parents’ sacrifice worth it,” Navarro said.

When Navarro came to Marquette, she did not have a state ID. As such, she could not receive a student ID, which barred her from accessing the library and gave her trouble in attaining her books. She woke up at 4 a.m. every day so that her father could drop her off at the library at 5 a.m. and go to work. She often spent the night in the library, as her father could not come pick her up if she stayed there too late studying.

Navarro’s speech was followed by keynote speaker Irving Ibarra, who received his bachelor’s in philosophy and sociology from Marquette in 2011. Ibarra currently has a visa and plans to gain citizenship within the next two years.

“This school teaches us to be men and women for others,” Ibarra said. “’America first’ is the opposite of being men and women for others.”

He described his life-long love of learning, and how it propelled him to “read the entire library” when he was in junior high school. He went to Marquette University High School, where he described an interesting encounter with congressman Jim Sensenbrenner who was criticizing undocumented immigrants during a speech he gave at the high school.

“He was saying that undocumented immigrants were felons,” Ibarra said. “I did not know what that meant. So, the same way I learned English in elementary school and Shakespeare in high school, I studied. I researched what it meant to be a felon. I also found out about aiding and abetting a felon. I wonder what he would think about this. Surely, providing an education is aiding and abetting.”

He then went on to describe his difficulties getting into Marquette. He was the first undocumented student to ever be admitted. Ibarra also told the audience about his life after graduation working at a Mexican chain restaurant, going home at 4 a.m. and waking up at 7:30 a.m. to take care of his daughter. The speech chronicled Ibarra’s journey from this to his current position as a college counselor.

The Gala then concluded with a call for donations by Maricela Aguilar, who graduated from the College of Arts & Sciences in 2012.

“How do you leave your own mother?” an emotional Aguilar said. “How do you leave your own land? How do you leave your own language for the unknown? There is bravery, and then there is my mother.”

Aguilar detailed the political activism that she is a part of, including anti-Trump initiatives around Milwaukee. She asked the audience for their support of the scholarship.

“You’re either with us or against us,” Aguilar said. “If you’re with us, prove it. Pull out your wallets. Give boldly. Immigrants are hard at work building a new nation in our own image.”

The Gala was put on by a committee of 19 students, which was comprised of approximately 80 percent females. There were also 36 volunteers at the event managing various tasks, such as photography roles, selling raffle tickets and collecting electronic payments. The Latin American Student Association was also responsible for setting up the baile, meaning dance.

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