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Trio Adult Educational Opportunity Center (AEOC) of Batavia, New York, launched the Break the Cycle campaign to celebrate first-generation college students as they work to break the cycle of educational and economic disadvantage within their families and communities. Anahi Maldonado, Genesee Community College student, won the grand prize spot for a brand new laptop computer, furnished by Trio Adult Educational Opportunity Center. 


"I’m now the first person in my family to ever go to college. I’m working towards becoming an immigration lawyer to help people get a better start in this country than my family had." 


— Anahi Maldonado,

Genesee Community College Student

& Winner of Trio AEOC's "Break the Cycle Essay Contest"

Anahi Maldonado attends Genesee Community College in Batavia, New York, where she studies full-time, having plans to become an immigration lawyer. She aims to earn her Juris Doctor degree and help immigrant families adjust to life in America. She won the grand prize for the Break the Cycle essay contest, which recruited first-generation students to write about their experiences being the first in their family to attend college. 


            When we asked Anahi if she had any words to express regarding winning the contest, she said, “I want to say thank you to Professor Jackson-Coe for seeing potential in my essay. I almost didn’t finish it because all these emotions just hit me as I was writing it. When I found out she submitted my essay into this contest, I honestly didn’t think I’d win, so this is pretty crazy to me, honestly. Thank you.”

(essay below)



As far as I can remember, I’ve always had to work harder for everything due to the color of my skin. My parents are Honduran immigrants who came to the United States in the 90s in order to get away from the violence in their country and give my four older siblings a better life.

            I am the firstborn in the United States out of six children. I grew up in a predominately white neighborhood in Long Island, New York, in a two-bedroom apartment on top of a little beauty salon.

            My parents had to work hard in order to keep a roof over our heads and I remember seeing my mother stressed over work and having to pay bills. I would tell my mom that when I was older and had money, I would buy her a big, pink house and I’d take care of her how she

took care of me.

In my whole life, I’ve never met anybody more determined and hardworking than my mother. I aspire to be half the woman she is. She is my superhero.

            I grew up in a Spanish-speaking household, so starting school was rough for me. I stuck out because I didn’t speak any English other than what I had picked up from cartoons. I remember that as I was learning English; I began forgetting the Spanish. My father wanted to make sure I didn’t forget my native language, so he would make me read Spanish books every day after doing my homework. As a Honduran-American, I’m in a position where if I don’t know proper Spanish, I’m not Latina enough to other Latinos and if I don’t know proper English, I’m not American enough for other Americans. My father made sure I learned both, and for that, I thank him.

            As the years went by, I realized I was being treated differently compared to the people around me. From being stared down in public, to getting followed around when I went to a store. I realized that the world was different from how I had perceived it before. I had to work harder to prove myself.

            I’m now the first person in my family to ever go to college. I’m working towards becoming an immigration lawyer to help people get a better start in this country than my family had. I’m grateful that I get to pave the way for my baby sister and I’m able to be there for her as she also goes through the journey of being a Honduran-American. I also hope it’s easier for her than it was for me. Everything I’m aiming to achieve is for her.


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