Living on His Own, Student Learns Resilience

  • Victor F. Najera believes in the American Dream. So strongly, in fact, that he made a life-changing decision that so far has defined his young life. Najera came back in 2018 to the U.S., his birthplace, from Mexico where he spent his childhood. Victor  He stayed with relatives in Harbor City, Calif., near Los Angeles, where he will graduate later this month from Nathaniel Narbonne High School. Leaving his parents behind was a bold move toward a brighter future in the U.S. But as he turned 18, his relatives no longer could support him.

    Rather than return to Mexico, Najera stayed in the U.S. As a teenager when many young adults are still sorting out their lives, he would have to take care of himself. He found a job, working full-time at McDonald’s. Soon, he was promoted to manager.  The extra hours allowed him to rent an apartment, but to do so, he had to work the late shift. On weekdays, he finishes his job between 1 a.m. and 4 a.m., arriving at school with little sleep. Still, he has kept focus on graduating high school.

    His plans include enrolling at a junior college. One day, he hopes to teach English, helping others who struggle, as he once did, at becoming bilingual. Then, he can offer his students lessons that go beyond learning language. He can speak to them first-hand about pursuing their dreams.