Age 19.
Graduate of Englewood High School.

In early 2010, Anaica and her family survived the cataclysmic earthquake that killed thousands in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. The struggles resulting from the disaster have shaped Anaica’s life and education in ways unimaginable to most Americans.

When she moved to this country after the earthquake, her mother and family accompanied her, but soon left to go back to Haiti.

Anaica stayed, determined to finish her education. But she desperately missed her mother and siblings. Meanwhile, she was suffering from spinal injuries as a result of the earthquake.

Most difficult, though, was being unable to understand most of the English spoken around her in her classes.

She was frequently absent, either because of physical pain or emotional trauma.

“Sometimes I would just stay at home because I wouldn’t want to come to school and talk to people,” she said.

But a school guidance counselor and translator at Englewood High School kept working with her. She wishes there were more people like them out there—resources in the community that could help teenagers like her.

Today, Anaica today speaks fluent English. She graduated in 2011 with a hard-fought and proudly maintained 3.0 GPA. She hopes to translate it into a college degree in international relations.