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Student Overcomes DACA And School Closure

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SHAWNEE, Oklahoma -

Gabriel Sanchez is a 21-year-old senior in college. He is studying for the GRE’s and getting ready to graduate. Sanchez said, “I was raised in Oklahoma, born in Mexico City and I am a senior here at St. Gregory’s University.”

Sanchez is a biomedical science major. He entered St. Gregory’s as a swimmer, holding record times, but the program was cut. He is also on student government. “I am two classes away from graduating,” he said.

But last week, St. Gregory’s University announced it is indefinitely suspending operations. After this semester, students will not be able to attend classes.

Being in college is a great accomplishment for Sanchez. Seeing it slip away, he says is heartbreaking.

When Sanchez was three, his parents moved their family from Mexico to the United States of America. “It was an illegal moving,” he said. His parents wanted to give him the best future.

In 2012, Sanchez’s life changed. “In 2012, when President Obama issued DACA, I was really excited, an opportunity to finally live out of the shadows.” But in September, the announcement came that DACA would be rescinded. “Without DACA, I’m not able to pursue my degree.”

Sanchez has dreams to be a teacher for low-income students in New York. He wants to get a graduates degree after his bachelor’s, but obstacles keep crossing his path.

Still never giving up, Sanchez applied to Teach for America. “I got accepted to Teach for America and I got accepted to the New York City region so that is pretty exciting,” he said with a smile. Another hiccup came when Sanchez got a call last week. His DACA status needs to be reviewed before he can officially join the program. “I can only hope at this point,” he said. It is out of Sanchez’s hands.

After everything he has been through, Gabriel knows he will make it. “I am very optimistic,” he said.

Gabriel learned some great news. St. Gregory’s University is offering an accelerated two-week seminar to help seniors with only one to two classes left, so he should be able to receive his bachelor’s degree in December.

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