As a child in Honduras, Elvin Villatoro enjoyed school and being a “normal kid” – until he was 12 and witnessed the murder of his father. After that, he worked to support his family and put his dream of literacy and education aside. But when he was 15, the threat of assassination by the same people who killed his father forced him to cross the Mexico/U.S. border illegally to save his life and find a way to support his family from afar. As a minor and with a price on his head, the U.S. Border Patrol put him in touch with lawyers who helped him attain political asylum and get into an unaccompanied minor program that placed him in foster care in Worcester. At last, he could pursue his dream of education.
At South High Community School, where he entered 9th grade despite the significant interruption in his formal education, he made rapid progress in the ESL program and did not hesitate to take Advanced Placement and Honors courses. He became involved in Junior ROTC, Educational Talent Search and earned induction into the National Honor Society.
Now a student at Quinsigamond Community College and living independently, he supports himself as a full-time line cook at a popular restaurant. After two years at QCC, he plans to transfer to Worcester State University, major in U.S. history and earn a certificate in secondary education. His ETS advisor helped him secure a Massachusetts Educational Opportunity Association scholarship and he has the promise of a Stephens Phillips Memorial Scholarship once he is enrolled at Worcester State.