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Students eyes, students lives: Life on the border

Dominique Macias
Contributing authors to “Migrant 915,” senior students Diego Trujillo, Kacie Lino and Briana Lopez.

Although El Paso has been making national headlines about “continuous border problems,” the people in the city can agree it has many aspects that go unnoticed. Frequently labelled as a ‘migrant city,’ El Paso’s proximity to Ciudad Juárez allows the two countries to mix cultures. With roots in Mexico, ancestors come to the United States to have better opportunities. 

Rather than focusing on the cultural melting pot El Paso is, people who live outside of the city sometimes focus on immigration issues instead. Students at Horizon High School (HHS) wanted to show others that El Paso is much more than a city that has problems with its border and that’s why “Migrant 915: A View from the Border” is the student’s tribute to El Paso, their home.

With the loss of fellow HHS student Miguel Romero earlier this year, from being hit by a drunk driver, several students and faculty dedicated this book to him. Romero was a migrant student, who many said was bound to have a bright future after high school.

The book is divided into three sections: “The View from Horizon” where students tell their stories of the border, “Creative Expressions from a Scorpion Mind” where students express themselves through creative writing, and “The Scorpion’s Sting” where student’s give their arguments and articles of the current migrant crisis.

Because of the impactful topics discussed in the book, HHS students emphasized to adults they are not oblivious to the societal problems in El Paso. One of the student authors of the book, Diego Trujillo, says he wanted to stress the importance of letting adults know teenagers are not blind to these issues that happen in the city. 

“I feel like adults don’t see us teenagers having a voice,” Trujillo said. “So, us writing this book and becoming published authors is like showing them (that) we also have a voice, we are not that stupid, we know what’s going on in the world.” 

Another student author of the book, Kacie Lino, feels the misconstrued view that the country has of El Paso needs to be corrected. With her contributions to the book, Lino says she wants to tell the world that these migrants are humans too. 

“We’re being viewed as a city who’s just letting everyone in, but it isn’t really the case. What’s being seen on the news is them (immigrants) riled up, and they’re making it seem like they’re just crazy, but they’re not,” Lino said. “They’re just human beings trying to make a life.”

Briana Lopez wrote about her mother, and her selflessness towards people crossing the border.

“I wrote a story about how my mom would bring in immigrants and help them out,” Lopez said. “I wrote (about her) because seeing her help someone with nothing in return was really heartwarming.”

Creator of “Migrant 915: A View from the Border”, and English IV College Prep teacher at HHS James Riddle believes as an educator, his purpose is to show his student’s potential.

“I’ve had this in my heart for a long time, (and) what I believe about education is that everyone’s got greatness in them,” Riddle said. “It is my job to find the greatness in these guys and pull it out, and display it to the world, and so what I wanted to do was create a very relevant piece of work.”

Having little to no influence on his students’ work, Riddle gave the pen to students and allowed them to write raw, honest stories of what it is like to live on the border.

“I wanted them to tell their stories, and their viewpoint from here in El Paso, Texas,” Riddle said. “What immigration is to them, some of them are migrants, some of them are not, some of them have parents are migrants, and those stories really came out in the book.” 

“Migrant 915: A View from the Border” fulfilled its purpose of showing the world an insider of the border. The students have been recognized by the U.S Congress and received personalized letters from them about the book. 

Every story matters, no matter how young the author is. Students at HHS gave the true experiences they’ve had living in the border to show that El Paso is more than a city with “continuous border problems”. As the book continues to make a name for itself, eyes outside of El Paso are looking upon the city with a new perspective. 

Sofia Sierra is the web and copy editor and may be reached at[email protected].

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About the Contributors
Sofia Sierra
Sofia Sierra, Web/Copy Editor
Sofia is a junior studying multimedia journalism with a minor in creative writing. She is the web and copy editor at The Prospector. After graduation, she hopes to work outside of El Paso to continue to grow as a writer.
Dominique Macias
Dominique Macias, Contributor/Photographer
Dominique Macias is a junior majoring in media advertising minor in creative writing. She is a contributor at The Prospector. After graduation Dominique hopes to pursue a career in the media publishing world; as a photographer or writer.
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