This Teacher Made A Video About His Star Student Trying To Get Into College. She's Not Getting In.

Clint Smith teaches in a challenging school. One of his biggest challenges is helping students like the one he speaks about here to get the education she needs to succeed — which is a struggle in her situation, even with a 4.0 average.

At 1:00, he gets to the heart of what this is all about.

You could Like Clint on Facebook to see more of his work. And you could share this. Totally up to you.

Show Transcript Hide Transcript

Every year, my students read Night by Elie Wiesel.

Following completion of the novel,

I assign them the tasks of writing their own memoir.

Maria came to America when she was five years old.

Wrote that she had to cross a river

before she ever knew what it meant to swim.

Ran through knee-high grass

as if the field were made of landmines.

Hid under the belly of trucks—

amid concrete and fertilizer

so as not to leave a scent for the dogs.

She did not know why she was running,

but she knew that her mother cried

every night for her father.

She knew she was beginning to forget

the outline of her daddy’s face.

She knew that he worked 18 hours a day

Just to provide them with the food they could barely

find at home.

She knew that he loved them

and wanted to remember what it felt

like to hold his daughter is his arms.

But Maria was five.

She doesn’t remember life in Mexico.

She remembers Kindergarten,

and sleepovers,

and middle school graduations.

She is more American, than any slice of apple pie

but that is not what we tell her.

We punish Maria for just following directions,

for being a child, who was simply listening to her parents.

We tell her parents that they are wrong for wanting a better life for their family.

We tell her that a 4.0 isn’t good enough.

We tell Maria that college wasn’t meant for girls like her.

We say too much brown skin.

We say too much accent.

We say where’d you come from.

We say you don’t have a number, so you don’t exist.

We have embedded apathy onto the eyelids of this country

and now we can’t even see what’s right in front of us.

It’s hard to convince someone to do well in school

when the law tells them that it won’t matter—

when you’re a number before you’re a face.

How convenient, that we forget our own history.

A country of immigrants

who were once told

we didn’t belong.

An assemblage of faces

simply waiting for our country to see us.

There may be small errors in this transcript.

The amazing Clint Smith wrote and performed this to honor one of his favorite students.

If you'd like to learn more about undocumented immigrants and why we should be helping them gain a path to citizenship, this is a great deeper read. And here's another important read as well.

Apr 08, 2014

Flash Video Embed

This video is not supported by your device. Continue browsing to find other stuff you'll love!

In case you were wondering what matters to us, it's your privacy. Read our updated privacy policy.

Hey, Internet Friend. Looks like you're using a crazy old web browser, which is no longer supported. Please consider upgrading to something more modern—for a better experience, and a safer time online. We only want the best for you.

Download Google Chrome, and try it for a week. Don't think about it, just do it. You'll thank us later.