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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.

First Person: A Dreamer Goes To College


Monica Medina, the director of education and outreach, KPBS.

Paulina Olveda, student, University of California, Davis


Special Feature First Person

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.


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