Olga Sanchez, Daley College’s 2023 salutatorian, grew up in a bilingual household, where Spanish was her first language.

Because she moved to the U.S. from Mexico at six months old, Olga wasn’t sure how she would pay for college as an undocumented student. Her teachers at Curie Metro High School told her about the Star Scholarship, and Olga decided to take advantage of the award and enroll at Daley College.

While at Daley, Olga became an active member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and volunteered during orientation and open house events at the college. Her passion for teaching and nurturing young minds led her to pursue a degree in child development with a focus on early childhood education.

“Attending Daley College put me on the path of becoming a teacher because they provided me with hands-on experience,” Olga said.

Upon completing her associate degree at Daley, Olga transferred to National Louis University to pursue a Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education. Her career goal is to become an early childhood educator and make a difference in the academic success of the younger generation. As a first-generation college student, she also wants to set an example for her sisters and other undocumented students that it’s possible to attend college and achieve their goals.

“We’re always told as undocumented students that we do not belong here, but I wanted to let them know that by attending college, we have the support that we need, and we can accomplishment anything that we set our minds to,” Olga said.