Now attending school at Northwest Classen High School, Melvin Lopez has come a long way.
After his brother was killed in Guatemala, he put it all on the line and left home. “I feel like afraid. I feel like scared,” he said. He made the journey to the United States in about a month, by foot and by bus, sometimes without the basics.
“Sometimes you’re hungry. Sometimes I was crying,” he said.
And after arriving to Oklahoma and beginning to work toward a better life, Melvin’s father died after a stroke.
“Three years ago I lost my brother and about like two months now I lost my father. Yeah, that was hard for me. But I am here,” he explained.
He is making huge strides thanks to the Oklahoma City Public School District's Newcomer Center. It serves hundreds of students like Melvin as they play catchup with the language.
“I want to learn more because I want to go to college,” Melvin told News 9.
Just grateful to have the help and new opportunities, he said he hopes to graduate and do some good.
“I want to be a police [officer]. This is my dream,” he said. “I am thank you [sic] for Jesus because I am here. So I am working on it.”
Northwest Classen High School is one of seven schools in the district with Newcomer Centers. District wide there are about 300 first-year newcomers and 200 second-year newcomers.