All students in Round Lake High School have dreams and goals they want to reach in life, such as graduating and going to college. Round Lake High School We Dream Club wants to help every undocumented student be able to graduate and actually reach his or her goal. According to Educators for fair consideration, only 65,000 undocumented students graduate from high school each year, but only 7,000 to 13,000 of those students pursue higher education. We Dream Club wants to change that by helping every undocumented student reach a higher education.The club provides resources for undocumented students so they know their rights and ability to pursue higher education. Students can also get help from a counselor who has plenty of experience helping students reach their goals of college.
Mrs. Penina Noonan, a counselor at Round Lake High School started the club during her first year as a school counselor.Noonan worked for the College of Lake County when she met several undocumented students. “Their stories inspired me to pursue professional development in order to learn how I could help them to succeed in high school and beyond,” she said. Her idea was for undocumented students to have a safe place to share their stories and where they could develop at school and community. “[It’s so important to] provide resources and education to our students so that they can go out and be leaders for those around them who maybe cannot or are scared to speak for themselves,” she said.
This year, the three-year-old club managed to raise $1,000 in a fundraiser for a scholarship by selling shirts across the district. Now the club is able to provide two $500 scholarships for two undocumented students.
Noonan is always full of advice for undocumented students, but her most important piece of advice is for undocumented students is to never give in. “If each student has a path they want to go down, and realistic expectations on how they can and will achieve it, anything is possible,” she said. “We have seen undocumented individuals reach for the career of their dreams and attain it in spite of the laws which dictate that they should fail.”Doriana Rivera, a senior at Round Lake High School is a member of Dream Club. “ I joined the Dream Club because I thought it would be a great opportunity to interact with other students that are in the same situation that I’m in and that way we can help each other out.” Rivera said that being in the club has helped her learn new skills and be comfortable with who she is.
Rivera identifies with the club’s logo, a butterfly. She says that it represents where she came from and her journey to the United States. “I love how it is so colorful because that represents all the good opportunities that this country has given me and all the goals and dreams that I want to accomplish,” she said. In the future, she wants the club to gain more members and more teachers to get involved. Finally, she has a message for other dreamers: “Never stop fighting and working hard to achieve their goals and having their voices be heard .”
Larry Brown, a senior at RLHS, is also member. “I joined this club because it means so much to someone who means so much to me,” he said. One of the biggest thing he has learned from the club is that all the people have one thing in common. “I have learned that some people don’t seem to realize that we are all people trying to provide for our family one way or another.” He would like to see this club get more involved in the community and he hopes eventually Dreamers realize they should not be afraid and they should follow their dreams.
Finally Noonan has seen students who have participated in the club graduate and go on to college. She says that the best thing students can do is stay active with as many different activities as they can.“Getting involved in school activities, and it doesn’t have to be Dream Club, helps students to become invested in their school environment,”she said. For anyone interested in joining Dream Club, there’s an application that is due on April 4th. Contact Mrs. Noonan for more information at [email protected]