Less than a year after moving to Rifle, Corral sisters graduate with scholarships
There aren’t too many ways to make a living in Leslie and Maritza Corral’s hometown in Mexico.
The Rifle High School twins say men, like their father Ruben, either work agriculture or commute far away to work construction. The women typically stay at home to take care of the family.
The Corral sisters moved with their family to Mexico from the U.S. at age 5 and were determined to find more opportunity. The teenagers conferred with their father, who said they should go to high school in the U.S. for better opportunities.
After about two months of planning, the Corral sisters packed their entire lives into suitcases and moved to Garfield County — without their parents. They now live with extended family.
They arrived in August 2021 with English skills picked up through primary and secondary schooling, as well as pop songs Leslie listened to on the radio.
“We came here with no hopes,” Leslie said. “Maybe I can get a scholarship and see what happens.”
The sisters maintained a 4.2 cumulative grade point average, and this school year earned scholarships through Colorado Mesa University. The “distinguished scholar” awarded $16,000 to each sister to help cover tuition costs.
“When they told us that we were eligible, and we got awarded with this scholarship, we were really happy about it,” Leslie said. “It was awesome.”
Attaining a college scholarship isn’t an easy task for anyone. It was especially hard for the Corrals, who discovered there were several scholarships for which they weren’t eligible.
Leslie said many scholarship criteria require prospective students to have lived in the U.S. for at least one year.
“We talked to the high school counselor, and she told us that we just had to work really hard,” she said. “Even if we thought we weren’t going to get them, we should apply for all of them.”
With scholarships, Leslie said she’s going to study business administration and marketing. Maritza’s going to pursue a nursing career.
“I constantly ask myself what my goals are, and we took a CNA class last semester, and I really like it,” Martiza said. “ I like the idea of having knowledge and helping people with their health.”
Walking for graduation on Saturday is going to be bittersweet. Leslie said her parents won’t be there, but the sisters will be keeping in mind that their father Ruben would tell them to pounce on any opportunity they encounter.
“I think that’s the most difficult part,” she said. “But it was absolutely worth it.”
Reporter Ray K. Erku can be reached at 612-423-5273 or email@example.com.
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