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Michael is a 2015 graduate of West Ottawa High School and is attending Michigan State University where he studies Political Science.

Though Michael’s father did not finish high school, he (and Michael’s grandfather) kept telling Michael it was important to finish high school, to do it differently and and even to dream of college.

During middle school and high school Michael participated in the Hope College Trio’s Upward Bound program. He also participated in Hope College’s REACH program (Research Experiences Across Cultures). This summer program invited high school students, who apply, to explore science-based careers. Hope’s goal is to increase the diversity of students within the degree fields of math and science.

Michael’s experience with REACH was what made him begin to think of a career where he might be a voice for those who were not as able to speak for or defend themselves. Law School began to be part of Michael’s dream as well as politics.

Elizabeth Colburn, Director of Hope College Trio Upward Bound had this to say about Michael:

“A self directed student, Michael truly enjoys learning. Michael is always actively engaged in the learning process and is a critical thinker who is not afraid to voice his opinion and participate in discussions in and out of class. He is well versed in a wide variety of subjects and stays on top of current events. A natural leader who consistently seeks out opportunities to participate in school and community activities, clubs and organizations, Michael always volunteers his time to help with various service projects and activities. Michael is a “mover and a shaker” who is not afraid to stand up for his beliefs.”

What did receiving the H/Z Promise mean to Michael?

“It gives me an opportunity to pursue my dreams without worrying that a day might come when I wouldn’t be able to continue. It takes a weight off my shoulders knowing I won’t have to take out student loans.”

Michael’s advice to high school students:

“Don’t listen to the people who say you can’t because if I did, I wouldn’t be here today, and wouldn’t be dreaming about being the first Mexican American President!”

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