High School Graduation Series
Jatzyri Perez Garcia – Student U Class of 2019 and Golden Door Scholar
Jatzyri Perez Garcia dreams of becoming a surgeon. As a result of her tireless effort and dedication to excellence, she will earn her high school diploma this May, an important milestone on her journey to making this dream a reality. Jatzyri is also the recipient of the Golden Door Scholarship, which offered her a full-ride scholarship to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Her dream is grounded in her own family’s experiences with mental illness and the healthcare system. This drives her to learn more about how the brain works and understand the experiences of those affected by mental illness. She is passionate about helping others through community service, holding leadership positions in volunteer groups at her school and giving back of her time and talent regularly. These experiences inspire her to one day become a surgeon who can offer pro-bono surgeries to support families who might otherwise not be able to receive treatment.
As an immigrant and public-school student, she knows first-hand the challenges and barriers that families and students face both in school and life. She dreams of a more equitable world, working to reduce the opportunity gap for students of color in her school district. Jatzyri sees her role as communicating the challenges students of color face in school to the people in power who are working to change the systems and policies that hold our community back from becoming a place where all students are succeeding. Currently, she serves on a student council that meets with the Superintendent of Durham Public Schools to advise on the strategic plan to close the opportunity gap.
Jatzyri knows the challenges she will face on her own journey to becoming a surgeon, including the reality that there are very limited scholarships for medical students and even fewer for DACA students. She plans to graduate college and medical school using her same ambition and desire to learn that guided her in high school. She believes her success in the medical field will allow her to serve as a role model for other students and change the false narratives that exist around DACA students and students of color.
Student U has had the privilege of walking alongside Jatzyri for the past 7 years. We look forward to supporting her in the College Promise Program and witnessing her greatness in action as she continues her educational career. We know that her success will make Durham and the world a better place.