2. Volunteering to help other students was Gabby's delight, she was not smiling unless she was at the front of the class helping the teacher, forever first to ask questions and forever pushing to learn! You would find Gabby at the end of class politely asking to take any leftover snacks home to share with her grandma.
3. Although her only friends were the students in her English Language class but she did not have any real close friends at school that she could confide in. Mr. Taylor decided that he was going to eat lunch with her, to see what he could do to help her. Because of a fear of deportation she was always reticent of sharing with school officials or teachers. Her Grandma has told her many times that they could be arrested and deported.
4. “Gabby, is everything okay at school and home?” Asked Mr. Taylor
5. “Yes, Mr. Taylor, I am okay” She said, not wanting to reveal what was on her mind.
6. “Gabby, what's going on?! You can tell me if something is bothering you. I promise I will never share what we talk about; you need to tell me what’s bothering you. If there is anything bothering you about school, I would like to help you. Are parents okay?”
7. At this point Gabby breaks down in tears with her face cupped in her hands.
8. “I just want to do well in school, Mr. Taylor. I want to become a doctor, but I do not think I will ever be able to go to college. My grandmother says we don’t have enough money to pay the rent and we may move back to Mexico soon. I try to help her after school to make and sell tamales. My dad sends money when he can to help with bills but it's not enough money. I think we are moving back to Mexico soon, I will start working as soon as we get back to our village. The school in our village is very poor and sometimes the teachers do not even show up at the school. My grandma says she will send me to college when I am eighteen. I think she's lying, white lies so my hopes aren’t dashed.”
9 “The students in class say I'm dumb and just trying to be the teacher’s pet. When I'm sitting at the homework table during recces doing extra homework to get ahead… they say I should do my homework at home, and I’m a loser.”
10. “Gabby, you are a very smart girl and you certainly aren't dumb. I am proud of you and your dreams of becoming a doctor. Stick with it. And if you continue to do as well as you are doing now, you will be able to get scholarships to help you through school.” Mr. Taylor tried to comfort her. “You have a special gift. Never forget that.” He continued listening to her hopes, dreams, fears and kept reminding her how wonderful she was.
11. Gabriela loved learning and finding a new challenge. Math problems in any-form were her passion and hobby. Learning new math concepts were her way of having fun and working towards her dreams.
12. Living in a small travel trailer with her grandma, making tamales and selling them on the weekends left no time for toys or friends. For a 4th grade student, Gabriela was intelligent beyond her years, but she was a very lonely child. At times when things got really bad she felt as if her parents had abandoned her. She resented and despised her grandma when she sent her to the store to sell tamales. The family was very poor, moving from Mexico to the US for a better life. Neither her mother or father had finished school; they did not understand her desperate need to get an education. However, they loved their daughter so much that they did not want her to set her hopes too high and then be disappointed in life. Her father’s words, “Solo la gente rica va a la universidad, y nosotros somos pobres!” rang in her ears. Supporting her dreams meant she would have to become a US citizen. They believed in their hearts that would never happen. They had struggled right through their own lives and it was difficult for them to dream with their daughter.
14. Mr. Taylor helped to foster her dreams of going to college. He encouraged her to be the attentive wonderful student that she was. Gabby kept doing her absolute best despite all the obstacles and despair she faced at home. One day she was really sad, she wouldn’t or couldn’t speak to Mr. Taylor, she was almost in tears, as she said goodbye. Mr. Taylor tried to hold back his emotions; he wanted to give her a cheerful message, one that would give her hope. Tears started rolling down his face “Gabby you are brilliant; never give up on your dreams. You will make it, all you have to do is keep on trying. Gabby I will miss you!