Angel Diaz graduated from Easton Area High School in the top 10 percent of her class. She is the president of NCC's student senate, a CLEO (Council on Legal Education Opportunity) recipient, holds a steady job, and is an immigration activist in the Lehigh Valley community. Still, the lifelong resident of the United States is not formally documented as a U.S. citizen, and therefore is not eligible to receive scholarships or other financial aid opportunities that are available to her peers.
"My story," says Diaz, "is the story that you can't tell, but it's the story that everyone needs to hear."
Diaz is inspired by the underdogs of the world, naming Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court Sonya Sotamayor as one of many examples. She is moved by women who are empowering and work hard, and enjoys attending conferences to hear the stories from school principals all the way up to some of nation's female political leaders. This is the America that Diaz lives and breathes and is motivated by on a daily basis.
"That's what molds me; I'm a dreamer student," says Diaz, who is a member of Organizing for Action PA. "This is what makes me, me. I do everything with nothing expected in return. Not a lot of people realize that immigration is an issue. I didn't choose this life. This life was chosen for me."
Diaz worked difficult physical jobs side-by-side with her parents as she grew up. Throughout, she developed an awareness of how the real world of business works, noting to herself that she would have to get a real education someday if she were to move beyond a labor or factory job. In high school, she was a decorated member of DECA, which prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs from around the world. Her success with the organization's competitive events fueled her eventual dual enrollment at NCC, when she began college coursework prior to her high school graduation.
"I came here saying that I needed to be involved. I was encouraged to run for Student Senate, and though I was afraid that I would lose, I just did it. I ran, and became a general member my first year, and was elected as president this past September," Diaz recalls. "I coordinated meetings all summer to plan QuadFest. I made it a requirement that we're going to fundraise this year. Our goal is to make everything – every event and every opportunity – bigger and better than it was the year before."
So, too, can Diaz be better. Her personal goal is to attend a university starting immediately after her graduation from NCC, and then move on to law school. Ultimately, she wants to become an immigration attorney, giving a voice to other people in her situation who may not have anyone else to advocate for them. She sees examples of successful NCC alums on billboards throughout the region and pictures herself on one of them someday, regardless of the government regulations currently doing their best to hold her back.
"On one hand, I feel like I'm becoming a success story for my family, and I'm all about leadership," says Diaz. "I want that to get me somewhere someday."
Name: Angel Diaz
Projected Graduation: 2014