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Student Wins D.C. Trip

By Monique Vindigni
Haines City High School Student

Isidro Madrid

"Si, se puede," wrote senior Isidro Madrid. It means, "Yes, it can be done."

That was the theme of a winning essay the Haines City High School student wrote for a contest sponsored by the Hispanic Leaders Club. Madrid won a trip to Washington, D.C., for his essay "Immigration Reform — The Road to Freedom."

Madrid was the only student in Florida to win this award. He and 42 other students from across the United States and Puerto Rico were able to experience first hand how America's national government works. They toured the White House, the U.S. capital and the Pentagon.

While there, the students were able to talk to congressional and corporate leaders and representatives of other institutions about their opinions on issues going on today.

The students also wrote and shared essays with congressional leaders. "Immigration made America what it is," said Madrid. Growing up as an only child, Madrid hopes to go to college starting this summer. MIT being his number one college choice, Madrid hopes to major in Chemical, Aeronautical, or Nuclear Engineering.

Madrid's number one motivator is his Technology/Computer teacher, Joel Decker. "He is who inspired me to be an engineer."

Although Madrid's trip to D.C. was only a few days, he is thankful to have taken it in hopes that one day, changes in America will have been made because of him. With all of the things going on in his life, Madrid says that if he could have touched one person during his trip or any time, that would have made his time spent in D.C. well worth it. "Don't take life too seriously, you'll never get out alive," are words Madrid lives by.

For more information on Haines City High, visit


Immigration Reform: The Road to Freedom
Isidro Madrid
September 2, 2003

In this "Land-of-the-free," immigration plays an influential roll in the United States population. Reform would be positive if it gave immigrants the same rights as everyone else such as, employment, work benefits, and voting rights. How do we expect ourselves to be categorized as a greater country if our growing population is being held back in wages, housing, and personal opportunities to better themselves and/or their families? Now that the government is taking away or suppressing the immigrant's benefits such as their health care, social security, and their ability to obtain a drivers license this causes a lot of unnecessary trouble for the immigrants and undue controversy between the United States and foreign immigrant's countries. This also brings the upsetting facts in our immigrant voting rights, this is a major factor for immigrants, and it can cause a plethora of problems if not dealt with. If immigrants feel that our president is treating them well, then there will be no quandary, but say another President with different views comes in, and alters the entire immigration policy. From accepting immigrants to sending them all back to their foreign countries instead of living their life here in "America's freedom." This would not only take and empty all the hard-laboring jobs; it would also hinder the labor industries therefore hurting our economy. There will be no laborers to work the harder lower paying jobs and, causing us to hire skilled workers to do their jobs for a higher pay. With the increased rate in immigration, immigrants could not even attain the poverty level to sustain their families. The hardships that they would endure while they attempted to become legal citizens are difficult enough. If they succeed in becoming a legal citizen and continue in the American life, the immigrants would have to take on the harder lower paying jobs, sometimes even more than one of these jobs to maintain a livable environment for their families. Just these major factors leave cracks, bumps, and obstacles in America's road. To live this road of Americans freedom is nice but to travel this road to freedom is extensive and challenging.