Magnet holds immigration panel


Estefany Perdomo-Montoya

The panelists took their seats on stage as the students eagerly sat down to learn about their lives and immigration experiences. All of the panelists shared their stories with the students, discussing how they became active members in their communities. The diversity of the group truly demonstrated how anyone can become a member of the American community.

Estefany Perdomo-Montoya, Reporter

Students in NC’s Magnet International Studies program attended an immigration panel hosted in the Performing Arts Center on Friday, November 15. Immigration became a hot political topic in America over the past years, with distortions occurring due to opinions backed with false evidence. Nine adults in the local community who immigrated to the U.S. from several different countries like Honduras, Cuba and Germany shared their experiences and why they decided to move. The experiences the panelists shared with the students provided them with different perspectives as to what truly pushes an individual to leave their lives behind in their native countries and move to a different country.

The panelists shared how they all learned to blend in and accept America. One panelist retired NC teacher Señora Illena Padron, shared about her move to America and how she escaped a communist country that no longer provided safety to her and her family. Señora Padron discussed how she no longer felt a connection to Cuba, she believes America became her only home.   Through living in America for several years and embracing the lifestyle here, she grew to adapt and love her new home.

“I don’t really see myself as a Cuban American. I see myself as an American,” Illena Padron said. 

The magnet program students enjoyed the panel and seemed to learn from the first-hand perspective. The magnet program aims to provide an international perspective to the classroom. The diversity of the countries the panelists immigrated from reflected the diversity of immigrants in America. By bravely sharing their stories, the panelists made the students feel a connection. 

“I loved it, I thought that hearing all of their experiences was really educational and enlightening. I loved seeing all of their pictures from when they were younger and their families now,” senior Magnet student Gemma Love said. 

Listen to what Rigoberto Giron, one of the panelists had to say to the students.