When you are the child of undocumented immigrants for whom nothing has ever come easy, getting accepted into Stanford University is a remarkable accomplishment that deserves nothing less than the heartiest of blessings.
But, as Guillermo Pomarillo of Chicago discovered during a dentist appointment recently, finding joy in another's hard-earned success is not necessarily a sentiment held by everyone.
In a Facebook post addressed to the dentist, Pomarillo wrote of how he made the 1.5 mile-journey to the dentist office by foot, hoping to wrap up the visit quickly. And things, as he detailed, were going smoothly — until the dentist found out that Pomarillo was headed to Stanford in a few short weeks.
Your initial reaction was surprised. But, were you surprised because you had a Stanford student on your chair or because you had a minority, low-income student, that needed government help to get braces, and would be attending Stanford on your chair? I believe it was the latter.
Pomarillo then explained why he thought it was so. The dentist was quick to ask him what his ACT score was, then responded patronizingly when Pomarillo told him and said that his daughter had scored better than Pomarillo yet didn't get into Stanford.
"You said," Pomarillo continued, "'Well, when you have kids from neighborhoods like THESE, like you know, ENGLEWOOD. It's easy for them to get into Harvard or Stanford with a [my score].' In my mind, I was confused. Did he really just say that? But you didn't stop. You kept going. You said, 'You know, when kids go to schools around here. (AKA public schools in minority neighborhoods.) It's easier for them to get into schools like Stanford. My daughter goes to a school where like 20 kids get perfect ACT scores.'" I stayed quiet.
It didn't end there. The dentist told Pomarillo how lucky he was for getting into Stanford, likening it to "competing on The Voice" and getting the buzzer. Pomarillo wrote:
So you're telling me that 18 years of rigorous hard work is like going on The Voice. You're telling me that pure luck got me admitted into not only Stanford, but schools like Princeton, Vanderbilt, Northwestern, and WASHU, and waitlisted at Tufts, Penn, and Columbia (I didn't tell him this btw)?! To say that I was admitted into a school simply because of my background is ridiculous. OF COURSE YOUR DAUGHTER WAS GOING TO SCORE HIGHER THAN ME. You're a dentist that can afford to send her to a school that will help her achieve a score like that. You're an educated dentist, with a college degree and dentistry degree. My parents, two undocumented immigrants that only obtained a grammar school education, couldn't afford to send me to private schools. Yes, I may have grown up in a neighborhood that doesn't have many young kids going to schools like Stanford. But it doesn't mean that people where I come from don't have the potential to succeed at Stanford. We deserve to go to places like Stanford.
"Maybe just maybe, the admissions panel saw beyond a score when seeing my profile. It doesn't mean that I'm better than your daughter. It means that I have the strength, the determination, the perseverance to succeed in a place like Stanford," Pomarillo wrote. "Cause trust me, schools like Stanford look at everything, not only scores."
Read his full post below:
A Plus has reached out to Pomarillo for comment.