A Texas high school valedictorian — who worked incredibly hard to earn a full scholarship to Yale — revealed something MAJOR in her emotional graduation speech. The 18-year-old bravely told the crowd that she is an illegal immigrant, and couldn’t help taking a few swipes at Donald Trump in the process!
In a not-so-typical graduation speech, Larissa Martinez, 18, the 2016 valedictorian from McKinney Boyd High School, revealed to her classmates that she is one of the 11 million undocumented citizens living in the United States. She even described how she fled Mexico with her mom and sister to escape her abusive father at age 11. But more importantly, the teen used her speech as a platform to speak AGAINST Donald Trump, 69, and his “prejudiced” views.
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Larissa became emotional when she declared in her courageous June 3 speech, “Undocumented immigrants are people too.” And while she didn’t directly call Donald out by name, she stated, “The most important part of the debate and is often overlooked is that immigrants, undocumented or otherwise, are people too.”
“People with dreams, aspirations, hopes and loved ones. People like me. People who have become a part of the American society and way of life and who yearn to help make ‘America great again’ without the construction of a wall built on hatred and prejudice.”
She later admitted to WFAA 8 that she purposefully alluded to Donald in her speech. “I didn’t know if people would pick up on that, but I knew, and that made me feel better so,” she stated. And what Larissa accomplished was NO easy feat. After all, the teen held a 4.95 GPA and took 17 AP classes over her high school career — all while taking care of her younger sister.
“Despite not having the Internet, a washing machine, or even my own bed, I always have knowledge at my fingertips,”she said. “I feel like I owe it to all of you to be honest and I owe it to myself.” Talk about an inspirational young woman!
In the fall she’ll be attending Yale University on a full scholarship and she hopes to one day attend medical school as well. “We are here without documentation because the US immigration system is broken and forces many families to live in fear,” Larissa also declared in her speech.
“When people see me up here… they seem to think I’ve got my life figured out. At the age of 11, I was nothing but the girl with an abusive and alcoholic father,” Larissa continued. “A girl whose only dream was to become an American and who thought moving countries would solve all of the problems in her life.”
The valedictorian added that school became her savior — a very welcome distraction that she took full advantage of. Larissa and her family have been waiting seven years for their American citizenship applications to be processed. “We are trying to do it the right way but we don’t know how,” she said.
What do you think, HollywoodLifers? Did Larissa make the right choice by revealing her immigration status so publicly?