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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Immigration to the U.S.

By Anthony Giron

Every Spokane teen has their own story of growing up, facing challenges and working to match or beat expectations. Now add the complicating factors of being a Black high school student in a city that is often welcoming, but overwhelmingly white. In today’s Serendipity section, The Spokesman-Review shares essays and a poem by six such young people. Each of their stories brings a different perspective. And yet each of them expresses a yearning for acceptance and respect.


Immigrating to the United States from anywhere and making a life for yourself is an unparalleled and admirable task. Both of my parents came from broken countries without knowing English and worked hard to build a life and provide for the family.

My mother is from former Yugoslavia and had to emigrate in 1999 because the war reached her town and she and my grandparents likely would’ve died if they didn’t leave. My dad is from Cuba and the Communist regime made resources scarce. It was a hectic life. With minimal support, he had to emigrate to build a life for himself. In the U.S. they worked and learned English. It was a grueling process. They met while at school to learn English and the rest is history. That’s when I came along in 2004.

I had a normal childhood and their hard work allowed me to grow up in a big house and most of everything I wanted.

Since the beginning, I could see just how much work they put into sustaining everything they’d built and it’s taught me that nothing in life comes easy. Anything good takes sacrifice.

So, being in my final year of high school, looking towards college and the future, having learned this lesson early is a blessing. I realize now how important the things they have been trying to teach me really are. Not to mention the multiple cultures I feel assimilated into. Essentially I’m trilingual and feel proud to have such a strong heritage. But, pretending to be perfect is a dangerous game. I still have a lot to learn and even still I’ve learned to own my mistakes, grow from them and work hard to never make them again. This work ethic is the reason I strive for academic excellence.

Enrolling in Honors and AP classes and maintaining my grades is a testament to my upbringing and the relentless support of my parents. So as I look towards the future, I give a heartfelt thank you to my parents, who taught me everything I know.