With high school graduation season in full swing, social media is inundated with messages from happy graduates. But one Texas high school valedictorian’s message last year may cost her more than she ever imagined. So what has happened to the infamous valedictorian who became famous becasue of her illegal status?
Mayte Lara, from Crockett High School in Austin, Texas, took to Twitter last year and said: “Valedictorian, 4.5GPA, full tuition paid for at UT, 13 cords and medals, nice legs, oh and I’m undocumented.”
It’s those last four words that landed her in a world of trouble. The 18-year-old left people outraged and that scholarship she bragged about was in jeopardy.
Users quickly lashed out at Lara on Twitter and Facebook, many upset about an illegal immigrant from Mexico getting a full ride scholarship to the University of Texas.
“I did it legally, nobody should get a short cut.” said Twitter user Cuervo Jones.
Sean DuVall wrote: “Not exactly ‘living in the shadows’ is she? We’re a nation of laws. I abide by them and so should she.”
Other users pointed out that her race is the primary reason she was getting the scholarship: “put a white male in exact same situation: he has to take out $100k in student loans. It wasn’t the GPA, honey.”
The teen quickly became overwhelmed, tweeting that “I want all this attention from strangers to stop already”.
Manuel Varela, a friend of Lara’s tweeted: “I checked your tweet this morning and it BLEW up. LOL”
“I know! I didn’t think it would do that tbh and it’s kinda scary and want to stop.”
But not everyone was opposed to Lara’s message. Some web denizens came to her side, including fellow Crockett High School student Tee ‘Baby’ Hutton, who wrote: “This is the the dumbest thing ever!!!”
“Are you kidding me you all are worried about this young lady who work her butt off to get where she is today instead of the other insane stuff going on not only in the world but in America itself!”
“Please leave her alone! You all just want to see people down! How about we start up lifting people instead of tearing them down! That’s how you make America great again!”
“We love you girl do you and forget about these people. And when Harvard calls you up…you need to catch the first flight out! We Crocket Cougars got you’re back you don’t have to worry about that!!”
It seems the irony of going to a high school named after an American hero who lost his life fighting Mexico to bring Texas into the United States is lost on all of the students.
The University of Texas was reported to be reviewing her status, but, at the end of 2017, she’s successfully wrapping up her freshman year at UT.
“The ICE raids terrified us all,” Lara told the school paper. “My parents were so afraid, they couldn’t even go to the grocery store.”
“It’s important that we continue to be vocal. If people listen, they will discover we are just the same as everyone else. We have a voice, and our voice is often overlooked,” Lara said. “But even if that voice is subdued, it will never be silenced.”