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KPBS Midday Edition

First Person: A Dreamer Goes To College

Monica Medina, the director of diversity, engagement and grants at KPBS and Paulina Olveda, a student at the University of California, Davis are pictured in this undated photo. They reconnected this year when Olveda graduated from high school and sent Medina a letter thanking her for helping her to achieve her dreams.
Monica Medina, the director of diversity, engagement and grants at KPBS and Paulina Olveda, a student at the University of California, Davis are pictured in this undated photo. They reconnected this year when Olveda graduated from high school and sent Medina a letter thanking her for helping her to achieve her dreams.

First Person: A Dreamer Goes To College
First Person: A Dreamer Goes To College GUESTS:Monica Medina, the director of education and outreach, KPBS. Paulina Olveda, student, University of California, Davis

Imagine getting a letter out of the blue that says your kind words and caring gestures have the child you nurture to achieve her dreams. I do not know if you remember me but I am the daughter of the lady of your housekeeper. So many years that pass by but I have always cured you in my mind. I wanted to thank you for everything throughout my childhood I remember when you gave me books to read and the gifts. I also remember you telling me to keep on going in school because it's important. Despite the fact that I was undocumented to keep on trying because there are a lot of opportunities. As a little kid I knew college was an option. I did not know it was reachable for me. You are one of the few -- that was from a letter to Monica Medina from a little girl, not a net -- young woman named Paulina peer we thought their story was special. We brought them into our studio to talk about it. This is Monica Medina and Paulina Olveda. What made you decide to write the letter ? Why now? Since I was little, I would always go to my bedside with my mother to clean houses. And every how she would go in and do the job and leave. That is it. No contact with the people that were there. And with you, it was different. You are always so nice to me. And I knew that going to your house, you were going to talk to me and say hi to me at least. You would make me feel like I was special. I don't know, give me books to read. In the other houses, it was just to do the job and leave Bissonnette and I know I keep you books, teetering over the books I gave you? I don't remember exactly the books, but ever since I started reading, I have never stopped. And I remember some books that have changed my life. And because of you that introduce me to reading, it was how I found those books. And I appreciate that. Reading has been such an amazing journey. Every book is different. You can learn so much from a story. And I like that is when you stop coming to my house, because her mother was having some problems and she cannot come anymore. I have bought for you that I plan to give you as she got older. And it broke my heart. I never thought I would see you again. So you are going to UC Davis I'm excited about that. Why did you choose UC Davis? That since I was little I knew I liked playing with colors and patterns and stuff like that. I did not think that it was a career. As I got older, I thought about it and I said I want to follow my dreams. For now that is what I want to do. It's like designing clothes or styling close to something with close. I was looking at colleges. And I knew that I did not have the money to go to an Institute. I went to UC Davis and I saw how they had the major. It is not a big major, but it's an okay major. And I think that it does not matter where you were at. If you have it, you will succeed anywhere. And UC Davis is UC Davis. And I thought, why not just go there? Are you still undocumented? Yes I yam. Soon I never really titled myself like that until I started applying for college. And yes I'm still undocumented. I hope I eventually get some type of papers so I can do other things to You want to study abroad don't you? Yes I need to go to Tokyo and Paris is a Mac you have never been out of this country that you came in? So maybe someday? Yes, hopefully please Mac I want you to know that when you sent me the email, and you wrote that you think of life are putting special people in your life, and I think life two, because life that you in my life. You meant so much to me. There was something about you. You have to smile and a spark in your eyes. You see so much smarter than your years. And we just wanted to help you. And I remember whispering in your ear to go to college. She can go to college. And I'm so glad to know that you really are. I'm so glad to know that even though I was not in your life anymore you remembered my words. But it was you. You are the one who took them and ran with them. You are the one who persevered through school. And now, you're going to college, I cannot be more proud. You have made me truly happy. Soon thank you mama cup his neck that was Monica Medina speaking to Paulina Olveda who starts her first day of college on Wednesday.

KPBS Midday Edition's First Person series tells the stories of average and not-so-average San Diegans in their own words. Their experiences, both universal and deeply personal, offer a unique lens into the news of the day.

Imagine getting a letter out of the blue that said your kind words and caring gestures helped a child to achieve her dreams. That's what happened to Monica Medina, the director of diversity, engagement and grants here at KPBS. Medina said she hadn't seen Paulina Olveda, the daughter of her former housekeeper, since she was a little girl.

When Olveda wrote to Medina, she was about to graduate from Lincoln High School and was planning to attend the University of California, Davis.

"I wanted to thank you for everything, throughout my childhood I remember when you gave me books to read and little gifts," Olveda wrote. "I also remember you telling me to keep on going to school because it was very important. Despite the fact I was undocumented to keep on trying because there were a lot of opportunities. As a little kid I knew college was an option but I didn't know it was reachable for me."

Olveda, whose first day of college is Wednesday, said she received a small scholarship through the California Dream Act as well as grants and a loan from UC Davis to be able to pay for her tuition in her first year.

They talked about their friendship in our studio as part of our ongoing series, First Person.