A higher education: dream to reality

Club resurrecting for Dreamers at Jones


Daniel Amaya ‘18 is confident there are more students like him amongst the Jones population who need the help of a Dreamer’s Club.

With DACA legislation at stake and in the palms of the United States Congress next March, DACA recipients, also referred to as Dreamers, are facing a troubling road ahead. To combat this, Dreamer Daniel Amaya ‘18 is resurrecting the Dreamer’s Club at Jones to assist undocumented students in pursuing higher education. After low turnout at a DACA forum put together by counselors, Amaya aims to share pressing information about attending college with as many Jones undocumented students as possible.

“With DACA being dismembered,” said Amaya, “the club gives those who currently have [DACA] more information about not only what’s going on but what steps they can take once their two to three year period is up.”

The intent of the club is to invite students to become more knowledgeable of their situations without revealing themselves, due to the risk students face if their status is disclosed. This is especially relevant to high school students, because achieving a college education as an undocumented student is becoming more and more challenging.

“The universities that I applied to were actually really affected by the fact that I had DACA,” said Amaya. “I planned to apply to Georgia Tech but they don’t even accept students with DACA.”

The club will cooperate with counselors and utilize DACA resources to equip undocumented students and their families with pertinent information. Aware that there is a significant amount of students who are directly or indirectly affected by current legislation that possibly seizes DACA to be an option, club sponsor Fran Feeley feels a Dreamer’s Club has the potential to educate an even wider community who may be under the perception that it is not a problem in their own communities.

“[Students] need to know more about the challenges that many immigrant families are facing, [such as] family reunification and stability in those communities,” said Feeley. “It is possible that some students are less aware and less sensitive to this frightening moment.”

Feeley said it is important for all students to know about undocumented students’ struggles so that they can contribute to solutions and participate in public dialogue. This way, Feeley said that he hopes one can make a decision based on facts, not misconceptions.

“I would like the club to provide a sense of comfort and hope for students who are in fact dreamers themselves and are confronting the existing and possibly compounding challenges of accessing a higher education and employment in the United States after high school,” said Feeley.

Teresa Vergara ‘18, a DACA recipient, is also helping rebuild the club and wants to make it an awareness club.

“It doesn’t even have to be just DACA students, it can be any students in general,” said Vergara. “It is okay if DACA students don’t come. Daniel’s vision right now is to help others and make people more comfortable.”

Last year’s club had info sessions for those who participated, yet this year’s main focus is to try to educate so that the club can accomplish enough before March. The club’s purpose is more timely than ever.

“If Congress doesn’t reach a decision before March, it will be really hard for any program like DACA to ever come back again,” said Vergara. “If nothing gets done, I am in a bad situation for the next four years of my life.”

Amaya and Vergara are amongst the handful of students at Jones who are affected by the legislation, and they are motivated to help as many undocumented students as possible.