Allison Cachay Narva

When I stepped into kindergarten only speaking Spanish with mi futuro ahead of me, learning English from frustrated teachers… Was I worth it?
— Allison
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When my parents left behind their country and continued to live in a place that deemed them and their immigration status unfit in order to give me a chance to learn…

Was I worth it? 

When my parents worked hard to put food on the table they were never able to sit at, so I could continue learning about the quintessential American Dream they wished for our family but was as broken as their English… 

Was I worth it? 

When I stepped into kindergarten only speaking Spanish with mi futuro ahead of me, learning English from frustrated teachers… 

Was I worth it?

When my overpopulated elementary school zoned me to an overpopulated middle school full of scraps such as ripped textbooks with missing pages and large class sizes in which my extremely introverted spirit was scared to even ask questions… 

Was I worth it?

When I applied to a high school an hour from home, because I hoped it would be better than the scraps that Jamaica, Queens was left with, but only found a school with underpopulated resources for its underfunded clubs…

Was I worth it?

When my education was compromised by line 37 on my mother’s 1040 tax form, the words “low income” blaming my family and I for the quality of my education….

Was I worth it?

When the college choices my school pushes me towards are the easiest ones because you know, I’m used to getting scraps anyways… 

Was I worth it? 

When those before you spent days on end creating this test and this system, but you now have the power to fix our system for students like me… 

Was I worth it?

Was I worth a thought in your system? Or was my worth in the form of SHSAT prep or a home not in Jamaica, Queens? 

So when you now sacrifice me and my future with your flawed system that we so badly want to make better… 

And when my lackluster system is the same from the one few miles away…

And when you're rethinking the policies currently in place…

And when you see media outlets claiming that the spots in these schools are handed to “these” students as if they weren't earned… 

And when you decide to proceed with proposals from those who have never walked a day in our shoes…

And when you think about what impact your next moves could have on students already facing the impossible… 

Ask yourself this: Are we worth it?