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Inspired By High School Valedictorian’s Bravery, Salutatorian Also Comes Out As Undocumented

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High school valedictorian Mayte Lara’s brave decision to reveal her immigration status is inspiring other students to come out as undocumented as well.

In a new video from the Austin-American Statesman, the DACA recipient says she never expected her tweet announcing her immigration status to make national headlines, or result in a flood of both praise and criticism online.

Still, as Mayte says in the video, none of that compares to the effect her action had on other youth like Vanessa Rodriguez, an undocumented student from Elgin High School.

After hearing about her story, Vanessa, the salutatorian of her class, decided to contact Mayte to reveal her status as well. Both will be attending the University of Texas this fall.

“This is my announcement to the general public, that I am undocumented,” Vanessa says in the clip. “And I am proud to say that.”

Mayte and Vanessa are in no way alone: “At Travis High School, for example, district Trustee Paul Saldaña said he learned three valedictorians in the past six years were from families staying in this country without legal permission,” according to the Statesman. 

“For 10 years before I got DACA, I was in a state of uncertainty, however, I worked hard and didn’t let my lack of legal status keep me back,” said Vanessa, who came to the US with her family in 2004.

“Same goes with the future. I will still continue to pursue an education.”