Jhon Magdaleno came to the United States from Venezuela with his parents when he was only nine years old. When he arrived, he knew very little English, and would leave school frustrated every day from the hardships of having to adjust; However, within six months, he was able to speak English fluently and began to compete for the highest grades in his class. From the very beginning, he strived to be the best he could be. His hard work paid off when he earned the highest award available at Midvale Elementary School after having spent only 3 years in the United States. From Jhon Magdeleno:
I began high school much like every other kid, both excited and nervous. My interests in military technology led me to join the Air Force JROTC. My time in the unit strengthened my leadership skills, and helped me to realize the value of organization and discipline. I entered the program as a cadet Basic Airman (lowest rank) in 2006, and graduated as the 4th highest-ranking officer in a unit of 175 students as a cadet Major in 2010. Through hard work, dedication, and an outstanding academic record, I became the Commander of the Air Honor Society my junior and senior years. My job was to organize, and lead community service activities, as well as encourage academic excellence within the unit. My most notable achievements include orchestrating a food drive that benefitted the Atlanta Community Food bank in the fall of 2008, the establishment of a long-term electronic equipment-recycling program, and sending letters and posters to the local Veterans hospital. For my service to our community, and outstanding leadership, I earned 2 top-ten nationally ranked JROTC awards, the American Legion Scholastic Award, and the Reserve Officers Associations Award.
Before leaving Lakeside High school, I made life-long friends, gained the respect of my teachers and peers, and achieved a 3.87 GPA.
Magdeleno currently attends the Georgia Institute of Technology, which also happens to be one of the top engineering schools in the country. He is Biomedical Engineering major who just so happened to end his freshman year with a 3.48 cumulative GPA. His dreams are big, and he aspires to become a doctor to give back to those who are less fortunate. He also dreams of leading troops in the field as a United States Army Officer. About that last point, he says:
Although I realize that this dream is not currently achievable due to my immigration status, I have joined the ROTC unit at my university in order to be involved with something about which I am passionate. These are both dreams that can only be fulfilled with the passing of the Dream Act. There are millions of young men and women in this country who, like me, want to serve and covet the chance to truly make a difference in our country.
For you naysayers out there, watch this video as Jhon explains how he feels about America. It’s apparent that his love for this country is as genuine and as real as anyone else’s, and that Jhon Magdeleno defines American: