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February 22, 2007

Ana's Arrival

Latino high school students have the highest dropout rate in the country. Many new immigrants struggle with English, cultural adjustments, and work long hours outside of school.

Ana Benitez Graham crossed the border from Mexico with her family when she was 13. Because the journey cost so much money, Ana and her siblings all had to get full-time jobs, even when they were in school.

Ana eventually dropped out of school, but she continued learning on her own, going to public libraries whenever she could. And against all odds, Ana made it to medical school.

Ana talks with Dick Gordon about making her way through the educational system-and how that journey affected her relationship with her family.

Ana recalls conversations like this one with her mom, which occurred when she was accepted to medical school. Her mom told her that she shouldn't leave the family.

It just dawned on me how far away I had moved from their thinking. When I accepted to go to Duke [University], I didn't think twice. It really brought it home. I had moved beyond the cultural thinking and values. But they hadn't. And even though I was married and had a kid, she still saw it as part of a family.

- Ana Benitez Graham

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