Source: Washtenaw Voice
Posted: Monday, May 7, 2018. 11:44a.m. CST.
By BBN Staff: Maria “Paula” Salazar-Valiente, a student at Washtenaw Community College (WCC) in Ann Arbor Township, Michigan, who grew up in Belize, has been offered a $120,000 scholarship and has already been accepted to the University of Michigan, however, she is waiting on replies from other schools as well. This is according to an article written by Suni Jo Roberts in the Washtenaw Voice. https://www.washtenawvoice.com/2018/05/07/graduation-speaker-wins-120000-scholarship-shares-story-of-hardship/
According to the article, Salazar-Valiente was presented the scholarship by the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Scholarship for community college transfer students.
Before enrolling at WCC, Salazar-Valiente grew up in Peru, El Salvador and Belize. She considers Belize her home. She grew up in a blended family that, for a short period of time, relied on each other during their parents’ health problems.
Salazar-Valiente took on a lot of responsibilities as the oldest girl in her family, including cooking and cleaning. Even with the extra work, she recounts that time as one in which her whole family got through together, not just her pulling herself out of a hard time. “Because of all the struggles we went through, I feel like we built up such great ways to work together,” she told Washtenaw Voice.
Salazar-Valiente returned to school after her parents recovered. She spoke with her teachers who agreed to let her back to graduate from high school in Belize. After graduating from high school, she took three years off from school to run a nonprofit organization she started focusing on feeding children and teaching adults skills like fishing, gardening and building chicken coops. A church in Dexter partnered with Salazar-Valiente’s nonprofit in Belize, which brought along with it the opportunity to go to WCC.
At WCC, Salazar-Valiente studies liberal arts and plans to transfer and study international law in order to affect change in her home country.
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