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Some talented freshmen

In IDS on March 1, 2013 at 7:55 pm

Two great stories came out of the IDS this week, from two very talented freshmen.

MATT BLOOM (IDS)

Photographs of the student and her girlfriend, siblings and friends line her crowded fireplace mantle.

Mom and dad are missing.

The student spent the past six months reaching out to her parents through phone calls. Her attempts led to an occasional phone conversation and visits home for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

The holidays were the first time she saw her parents since they cut her off at the beginning of summer.

“The real heartfelt conversations between us are left for someone else now,” she said.

She said she hopes that someday they’ll be able to talk to her parents like that again.

“For a while, it was really hard to admit that they weren’t going to help me or be a part of my life,” she said.

Her parents’ attitude has improved since she achieved complete financial independence from them. She said their communication no longer revolves around her
finances.

“Since I’m independent, I can call when I want, tell them what I want, and if they act a certain way to me, I don’t speak to them,” she said. “It’s a healthier relationship.”

Tacked on the wall of her living room are the words “never give up.”

“The community here is really supporting,” she said. “If you have questions or fears, go to the office and talk to someone.”

She said she wants to be an advocate for children everywhere.

“I want to step in and be the person to help victims of domestic violence or other tragedies,” she said.

It’s her way of giving back to the people at IU that saved her.

“I’ve never been happier than now,” she said. “It’s experiences like this when you find out who really cares about you.”

I usually post the lede or nut graph of a story, but this time around I decided to go with the kicker. This is great, and I only wish this would have been higher. That detail, “Mom and dad are missing,” would have made a brilliant lede. What an excellent observation from a rookie reporter. Mr. Bloom is part of a very talented group.

SAMANTHA SCHMIDT (IDS)

Undocumented students like Chuy, students who were already enrolled in an Indiana college in 2011, might be given a second chance this fall.

If a new state senate bill, Senate Bill 207, is passed today, it could mean about 200 Indiana students would have their resident tuition reinstated, said Angela Adams, an immigration attorney for Indianapolis-based firm Lewis & Kappes.

Adams, one of the primary driving forces behind SB 207, said she is fairly optimistic about the success of the bill, thanks to the federal passing of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals in June 2012.

DACA allowed any undocumented individuals who were brought to the U.S. at a young age and had resided in the country for at least five years, without a criminal record, to apply for deferred action status. These immigrants are now eligible to receive a renewable work permit for two years, a social security number and an Indiana driver’s license.

“It’s a whole group of kids who are now lawfully present in the U.S.,” Adams said. “That’s a totally different situation than we had last year.”

The Vidaurri-Rodriguez brothers no longer have to fear deportation and can get jobs to help make ends meet for the family, Chuy said. It has provided the family with some relief, but still does not guarantee them access to an affordable education, he said.

For Chuy, SB 207 means more than just regaining his own in-state tuition, he said. It could mean there would be enough money left over for a college education for his three younger siblings.

This year, Chuy’s younger brother, Lalo, is a freshman at IU. The brothers are currently splitting the private funding from the family’s sponsor.

Sam shows what strong reporting chops she has in this one. She did some great digging to find students who hadn’t been talked to by other media yet. Like I said, this class knows where its at.

-CS

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