Thank you speech by Daniela Barbosa ’11, Saturday, April 07, 2018 Scholarship Gala

Good evening. I am Daniela Barbosa. I graduated Guadalupe Regional Middle school in 2011.

It’s funny how it all started…

As we all may know, Brother Arthur is a very serious person. I had never seen him smile. Not in sixth, seventh, or even eighth grade. Little six grade me, feared him… Terrified. A day before I took my first science exam with him, I begged my mom to get me out of Guadalupe. But like all mothers, she knew what was best for me, and she told me to relax, believe in myself. Take the exam, and if after that I didn't want to be in Guadalupe, only then could I switch to a public school. I took the exam, and after receiving my scores, I decided to stay.

Guadalupe held annual science fairs. These were opportunities for me to play with my silly dream of being a scientist. You would think that an aspiring scientist would do well at a science fair, or at least I thought that. But it was hard. I didn't know what to research or even where to start. I tried, and tried to be one of the top competitors. But every time, I was unable to win anything but a ribbon to commend my effort, my participation. I felt like a failure.

Speaking of failure, I thought I was destined for these kinds of experiences. I was a Latina -- a poor, small-town Hispanic girl from the Valley. I was of low socioeconomic status, to the point where my family ate almost the same meals for days. My father had only a high school education; my mom had even less. I thought that my fate was predetermined by my culture, and that success was meant for the elite in our society.

Guadalupe was my turning point. They shared their gift of caring throughout the community, especially the students from GRMS. I remember waddling every Thursday from Guadalupe’s gym to my car with a basket filled with nonperishable food to take home. I didn’t realize how important that food basket was for my family… It made some of my meals for the week, and put something in the kitchen cabinets.