Moving far away for a college education

May 16, 2014


Amanda Lira

During his senior year, Manases Orozco accepts his admission offer to Richmond, The American International University in London, to study political science for the fall of 2014. Orozco plans to study aboard in London for four years, then transfer to Yale for law.

By Thurs., May 1, numerous high school seniors who plan on attending universities and colleges made a decision on where they will spend the next four years of their lives receiving an undergraduate education. For Mario Garcia, Joseph Flores, and Manases Orozo, three Downey students, this decision means leaving their hometown and moving thousands of miles away to acquire knowledge at their top-tier institution.

Garcia decided to attend Princeton University in Princeton, New Jersey after receiving offers from Cornell, UCLA, UC Berkeley, UC Irvine and UC San Diego. Garcia submitted a Common Application for Princeton, which consisted of two letters of recommendation from Mrs. Carlson and Mr. Glasser, a school report from his counselor, Mrs. Curiel, and an additional essay. By mid-December, he found out he was accepted into Princeton’s esteemed Woodrow Wilson School as an International Relations major. Garcia vividly remembers the moment he found out about his acceptance.

“All hell broke loose,” Garcia said.  “On the phone with a friend, I started freaking out and yelling the good news throughout the house. I was so incredibly happy and shocked. My parents shared in my happiness and ran upstairs when they heard their teenage son screaming like a freak. They congratulated me and told the rest of the family right away. My phone almost exploded that night.”

Garcia made the choice to attend Princeton after visiting the campus during Spring Break.

“Apprehensive of the infamous snobbishness of the Ivy League, I visited Princeton over Spring Break,” Garcia said. “Although, admittedly, I did meet a few of the stereotypes. I actually met a lot of friendly, down-to-earth people at the school. The sense of independence I felt flying across the country, in addition to the great people I met, made me pick Princeton.”

For Flores, applying to Dartmouth College, another Ivy League school, was not as tedious as Garcia’s. One uncommon aspect of Flores’s application that may seem uncommon to most was filling out a peer evaluation, in which a sibling or friend wrote about the applicant. Flores was accepted to Dartmouth, which is located in Hanover, New Hampshire, as an Engineering Sciences major. He picked this concentration of study because of his humanitarianism.

“After college I want to work in a non-profit that creates infrastructure in third world countries,” Flores said. “I got inspired mainly from my trips to El Salvador [his parents’ native country] where people live in shacks and the majority of the country lives in poverty.”

Although Flores is excited to attend Dartmouth, his parents may feel a little apprehensive.

“My dad is fine with it,” Flores said, “but my mom has mixed feelings. Although she is proud of me for getting into a good school, she’s sad that I’m going to be leaving so far.”

Unlike Garcia and Flores who are both attending school on the East Coast, Orozco has decided to leave the United States and make his way to the United Kingdom to attend Richmond, the American International University in London. He felt as though going to a school in a completely foreign country would be a thrilling experience.

“I chose it [Richmond] because it was something new,” Orozco said. “I felt like I would be happier if I went to a school in London than out here.”

He applied to Richmond via the Common App. Although he was accepted into Boston College, UC Davis, and UC Santa Barbara, he felt like Richmond would give him the best experience and education as a Political Science major.

“I told my dad,” Orozco said. “He got really emotional. I thought, if this is the way he’s going to act, then I’m afraid to see how my mom would feel.”

Orozco is not afraid of his big move, even though London’s weather is infamously cold and dreary.

“The weather in California is redundant. I get tired of it,” Orozco said. “I do plan on buying sweaters when I move to London.”

Although some Downey students are staying close to home, these three seniors are willing to step out of their comfort zone to obtain an education that will shape their futures.

Leave a Comment
About the Contributors
Photo of Rodas Hailu
Rodas Hailu, Co-Editor-in-Chief
Rodas Hailu, Co-Editor-in-Chief of The Downey Legend, leads the 2013-2014 staff into a busy and exciting year, introducing them to the journalistic world and all its wonders. The writer and photographer first entered the online newspaper as a junior, landing the position of Student Life Editor and turned heads when her stories revealed a seemingly natural instinct for investigative journalism. One year in newspaper left Hailu craving more: a position of leadership where she could let her ideas flourish and create a more successful website. As this year’s editor, she hopes to lead her team into greatness and provide a comfortable workspace. According to the senior, there is no room for mediocrity in the online newspaper. “I don’t want the writers and photographers to be apathetic at all,” Hailu said. “If they are in The Downey Legend, they are in The Downey Legend.” Full force and with great efforts, the talented student hopes to heighten the newspaper’s popularity and implement new ideas, hopefully capturing a new, wider audience.


The senior, who is often described as an old soul, admires classical music and is moved by each powerful note in pieces composed by Prokofiev, Shostakovich, and Khatchaturian. A violinist of 7 years, her appreciation for works of art extends to cinema, and claims to be an avid movie watcher. “I really love to watch movies with a good script, amazing characters, and wonderful cinematography,” Hailu said. With a sixth sense for different forms of human creativity, she hopes to become a student in a liberal arts college and experience the intimacy of a less populated university. The future awaits Hailu, a force to be reckoned with in the arts field, and she predicts she will be living on her own because of her “innate independence.” Living day by day and constantly telling herself, “whatever happens, happens,” she tunnels her focus on The Downey Legend and its future success. A true leader with a mind coiled with layers of depth, Hailu reveals bits and pieces of her vision through her various works or art, photographs and stories.
Photo of Amanda Lira
Amanda Lira, Photographer/Photo Editor
Among the returning members of The Downey Legend is Amanda Lira, who had personal motives to join the online newspaper. Lira who currently holds the position of Photo Editor was in junior high when she began to take an interest in photography and decided her dream was to work for a magazine. However, as time passed her gears began to shift toward medicine; but in spite of that, she never lost her passion for photography. “I joined ROP for sports medicine; my goal is to be in Skills USA this year,” Lira said. “I also decided to return to newspaper to meet new people and to feel like a part of something; we are like a little family.” Lira’s current dream is to attend San Francisco State and major in physical therapy.


Aside from photography and medicine, Lira enjoys going to the beach with her cousin Lupe and watching Johnny Depp and Bradley Cooper movies. Lira’s aspirations have guided her decisions, from choosing to apply for newspaper, and taking ROP sports medicine. “I think it’s a big achievement¾becoming Photo Editor, and this year I plan on giving it everything,” Lira said. “It’s my senior year and the first step to getting where I want to be.”

The Downey Legend • Copyright 2023 • FLEX WordPress Theme by SNOLog in

Comments (0)

All The Downey Legend Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *