Living an American Dream

Usiel Teran

By Jordy Acevedo

Usiel Teran is grateful for the opportunities given to him in the land of the free.

Teran, who is a College of Southern Nevada student, was born in Juárez, Mexico and has a slight recollection of his life there. “I do have vague memories of my grandmother who passed away in 1999— the same year my family and I moved to the United States. I also have vague memories of my aunts, uncles and church activities. I do remember that we lived in a medium-sized home and my mother always took care of her children.”

Teran was 5 years old when his family moved to Topeka, Kansas.

Lorena Holguin, Teran’s mother, said, “I decided to come to the United States for a better future for my children. The main reason for coming here is because of how young my children were at the time. I wanted them to experience a better life in America from a young age.”

New to the States, Teran didn’t know where his life would end up. “When I was a child I had no control of where I was going to live, what school I would go to, what church I will attend or where my life was headed. You live day-by-day not really worrying as a child. I am proud of my mother because she did a great job of raising us in a place where we could feel safe and continue our education.”

Much of the move was positive although some family struggles took place. “My family life has taken multiple turns,” Teran said. “From the time I was born until I was 9 years old I lived with my parents and my two brothers. My parents divorced when I was 9. My two brothers left with my father and I stayed with my mother. That gave me a taste of how it was like to be raised by a strong and independent single mother. We became the best of friends from that moment; we protected each other. Sometimes it felt like it was just us against the world.”

Teran continued, “My mom had the ambition to do better for herself so we moved to various states such as North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Illinois to find job opportunities. I spent my fifth-grade year moving around. It was tough because I had to leave friends that I had made behind. In July of 2005 we moved to Las Vegas and stayed here ever since. A few years later my two brothers came to live with my mother and me in Las Vegas. I currently have an awesome family life with my mother, stepdad and two brothers.”

Over the course of many years, Teran decided to embark on a new journey and planned on attending college. “I applied for various scholarships after I graduated high school in 2012 and I was rejected many times. CSN gave me the opportunity I had been looking for, for so long. A specific opportunity is when I received financial aid from a scholarship given to immigrant youths by CSN. I am very grateful for that. I am now very close to graduating.”

Teran will earn his associate degree this winter. Next he will pursue his bachelor’s degree.

Teran said, “I will be the first to graduate in my family and that makes me feel very proud. I think the reason for being the first is because my parents didn’t have the opportunities that I have now when they were growing up in Mexico. On the other hand, I was the only one out of my two brothers who were interested in going to college.”

Teran’s mother said, “[My son] always wanted to go to college and I am proud of him for fulfilling that dream. He is also achieving the dream I wanted for him because that was one of my purposes for coming to America. I wanted my children to study, to learn, to progress and to be someone.”

Teran is currently majoring in broadcast journalism; he wants to be on television. He also dreams of writing articles for print and website news organizations as a travel journalist after college.

Jennifer Mitchell, professor of journalism at CSN, had Teran as a reporter in her JOUR 105 News Production course. “His piece ‘DACA Hangs in the Balance’ that was published on Coyote Student News, CSN’s online student newspaper, was a powerful and well-written testimony of those at CSN who have DACA status and worry about their abilities to stay in this country in the wake of Trump policies. Teran is a great reporter. I believe in his abilities to affect change especially on topics like this.”

His fellow colleague Viridiana Sarabia, who has taken journalism courses with Teran, said, “He is very hard working. He doesn’t give up no matter the challenge. He’s a great friend.”

Teran is thankful for the opportunities that the United States gave him. “America is the only place I’ve ever known as home. I have no other place to compare it to even though I was born in another country. I have embraced my roots and I am proud of my Mexican culture though America has given my family and me so many opportunities.”

Teran’s mother said, “I am proud of my son because he is very self-driven, self-motivated and always wanting to progress. Through difficult times he always fights to get ahead and as a mother I am always going to be proud of my son for that.”

Teran said his family, ambition and faith help him to keep going in life. His ambition is to work in journalism because he enjoys it and it will bring him happiness. His faith pushes him to believe in himself and his family is the motor that drives him to do better. Without family, he would not have that support needed to move forward.

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