- Associated Press - Saturday, May 2, 2015

MIAMI (AP) - One Miami teen is heading to the University of Florida and hopes to become a doctor thanks to donations from hundreds of friends and strangers.

The Miami Herald (https://hrld.us/1Q9VckB ) reported on Saturday that Giancarlo Tejeda’s future was uncertain despite his good grades and other achievements throughout high school at Miami Lakes Education Center.

Tejeda, 18, was accepted to many prestigious schools but could not attend because of his immigration status. Tejeda, who was brought to the United States from Colombia by his parents when he was just 3, is among thousands of young and undocumented students. The students are known has DREAMers for the federal DREAM Act. They have been granted temporary protection from deportation but do not qualify for federal or state grants to help pay for their higher education.

A concerned teacher helped make Tejeda’s college dream come true by creating a GoFundMe site, which has collected about $24,000 in donations so far.

The school contacted media and news stories about Tejeda’s situation prompted donations from all over ranging from a few dollars to a $10,000 check.

Tejeda’s classmates and their families also helped.

“We were all stressing about college, but … it was like all of our problems - are we going to get accepted, are we going to get financial aid? - were pushed aside,” said Salwa Raza, a friend of Tejeda’s.

On Friday, Tejeda sported an orange T-shirt with the University of Florida gator. He joined dozens of his classmates as they signed symbolic college acceptance papers amid balloons and “2015” spelled out in giant numbers covered with glitter.

Tejeda wants to study biomedical engineering, and to get a joint medical degree and PhD so he can eventually go into neurological research to help people like his grandmother, who has Alzheimers.

He also wants to continue to be a face for young people in immigration limbo.

“We need immigration reform. We need to have healthcare,” he said. “This is part of a movement that needs to happen.”


Information from: The Miami Herald, https://www.herald.com

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