Yesica Calderon received a life-changing surprise this week.
The undocumented immigrant and senior at East Boston High School may have a 4.8 GPA, but her immigration status made it difficult for her to fulfill her dream of going to college.
That all changed when Calderon unexpectedly received a full four-year scholarship to Regis College on Tuesday. A teacher had asked her to go to a study space in the library designated for student athletes, but when Calderon opened the door she found teachers, family, classmates, her coach and the media waiting to give her the good news.
A NowThis video posted Thursday shows the moment Calderon entered the room and her emotional reaction after being given the scholarship, which was made possible thanks to both Regis College and the non-profit Boston Scholar Athletes.
“Some nights I would cry, not knowing what I would do with my future,” she told the room.
Many other schools had given Calderon very little financial aid and the high school student could not apply for government loans due to her immigration status.
“If it wasn’t for this scholarship I probably would not have been able to afford college at all,” she said, according to the Boston Globe.
This fall Calderon is expected to join the Regis class of 2021 as a freshman, and she says she plans to study to become a social worker.
Phillip Brangiaforte, headmaster of East Boston High School, told ABC News it was Scholar Athletes’ idea to plan the ceremony to present Calderon with the scholarship.
“We are all very happy for her,” Brangiaforte said. “She definitely deserves it, you know. Yesica is so smart and she’s such a great kid.”