Mayte Lara Ibarra, a star graduate of Crockett High School in Austin, Texas, sent a bold tweet last week:
“Valedictorian, 4.5GPA, full tuition paid for at UT, 13 cords/medals, nice legs, oh and I’m undocumented.”
That tweet generated such a powerful response—both positive and negative—that Ibarra soon deactivated her Twitter account.
But she wasn’t alone. That same week, Larissa Martinez, valedictorian of McKinney Boyd High School-- also in Texas-- revealed her immigration status in her graduation speech.
“After all of these years I have finally mustered up the courage to stand before you and share a struggle I’ve had to deal with each and every day,” Martinez told her entire graduating class. “I am one of the 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the shadows of the United States.”
The star student then explained why she chose to come out of those shadows.
“I decided to stand before you today and reveal these unexpected realities because this might be my only chance to convey a truth to all of you: that undocumented immigrants are people too,” Martinez said.
Her speech got a powerful response, but not in the same way as Ibarra's tweet. She received a standing ovation.