Sullivan, KLRU, (512) 475-9087, Kristin
Steimel, Christian-Hubble Media, (512) 370-3474
LEAGUE GRADUATE RETURNS HOME
COLONIA AS TEACHER
Texas Growing up in a small house with no indoor plumbing
along with five sisters and two brothers, Blanca Rojas dreamed
of a better life. After finishing high school, she received a scholarship
to attend an Ivy League university. Blancas story of life
in the colonias, neighborhoods near the U.S.-Mexico border
where there is often no electricity or running water, is one of
many in the film The Forgotten Americans.
will air The Forgotten Americans nationally Friday, December
14, 2000 (check local listings). This documentary, by acclaimed
filmmaker Hector Galán, examines the issues of daily life
in these communities that have Third World conditions.
remember a lot of people saying,
you cant go to college,"
Rojas said. "I mean, come on. You dont have any money
you come from this area [where] people rarely go to college, rarely
get to high school because a lot of people drop out at the eighth
But I always knew that I wanted to go to college."
the help of her teachers, counselors, and parents, Rojas worked
hard in school to earn a scholarship to Brown University in Rhode
Island. Setting a milestone, she was the first in her family to
graduate from college.
desire to get a good education came from my parents," Rojas
said. "They taught me the valuable lesson that once you earn
an education, it is something that can never be taken away."
graduation from Brown, Rojas moved back home to become a teacher.
She lives one block from her childhood home in the Monte Alto colonia.
Rojas said she believes her success story has been encouraging to
her students at La Villa High School where she teaches English.
She plans on applying to medical school next year.
I was a high school student, teachers encouraged and inspired me
not only to graduate from high school, but to graduate from university
as well," Rojas said. "I want students to know that it
is possible for them to make it to university, too, that money does
not have to be a barrier."
said she believes that the living conditions in colonias
are slowly improving. Like many other colonia residents,
she hopes The Forgotten Americans will open the eyes of people
who do not understand that the colonias are a very real problem