EDUCATION

Virginia Dream Act: Hopes dash for passage this year

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(WJLA) - Former Lake Braddock High School student Mauricio Segovia Pacheco is the son of an undocumented cook and waitress, who brought their child to Virginia from Quito, Ecuador when he was four years old.

Pacheco graduated with a 4.6 GPA, along with awards for academics and music. But despite these accolades, he will still have to pay out-of-state tuition, meaning local state school UVA is out of reach for him.

“At first [you're] happy when all were saying goodbyes," he says. "Happy for you. But deep down, I'm jealous. You get the dream I've been dreaming my whole life,” he says about graduation.

Virginia's Dream Act would open doors for immigrants in Arlington, and political activist Andres Tobar’s initial hope that it would pass this year, has faded:

“It breaks my heart to see so many waiting for an opportunity...so much talent in Virginia, he says. “Education can mean the difference between a steady career and a laborer looking for daily work,” says Tobar.

But Pacheco is not waiting for legislation to change his life. He’s taking a break year to teach himself piano and work in a restaurant, while applying to out-of-state private schools that can give him financial aid – like Harvard, Princeton, Yale, and Georgetown.

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