scholar Archives | UnidosNow

Oscar Portillo-Meza: A Role Model Exemplifying UNIDOS

By Sandy Chase

UnidosNow fosters improvement through education, integration, and civic engagement.

But when you get to know our Future Leaders and families, you’ll agree that UNIDOS is an acronym that describes Hispanic and Latino youth who are learning skills and acquiring knowledge for empowerment:

  • Undeterred by Obstacles
  • Navigating life’s journey to fulfillment
  • Inspired by leaders in all facets of life
  • Determined to be successful
  • Overcoming adversity
  • Setting a model for others to follow

A 17-year-old immigrant from Honduras, Oscar defies obstacles confronting his personal and academic goals.  “I’ve weaponized those barriers and turned them into the tools that have helped me construct bridges and tear down walls.”

Oscar is fervent about public service, relaying how President Barack Obama’s accomplishments have also reaffirmed that belief:  “I, too, will continue to challenge myself and others for the betterment of our.”

A dually enrolled Bayshore High School senior, Oscar shares his day at the State College of Florida.  The following activities describe a birds-eye view of his typical experiences—highlighting his determination to make a difference:

  • President of three clubs and the Student Government Association
  • Past editor on the yearbook staff
  • Current writer for the school newspaper
  • Fellow on political campaigns, involved in voter registration and restoration of voter’s rights.

“Ambition” understates this young man’s strengths. Oscar is determined to pursue undergraduate studies in political science and economics, after which he plans to attend graduate school for a Master’s of Political Science or a Juris Doctorate to practice corporate law.

UnidosNow has helped him better realize his academic goals and lighten his path when it appeared bleak.  “When I began applying to colleges, I learned about my status as a non-citizen, but didn’t despair because UnidosNow helped guide me through the process.  My college and career advisor—an insightful, knowledgeable counselor, connected me with the organization’s directors, who have encouraged me and others in similar situations to feel like the best days lie not behind us—but ahead.”

Oscar has already been accepted to over 25 universities nationwide; he’s waiting to hear from more.  But schools like the University of South Florida, the University of Tampa, and Fordham University top his list.

Eventually, Oscar plans to become a senator.  “I want to do as much as I can for Americans, also dedicating some of my life to the nonprofit sector, with an organization like the Human Rights Campaign or the Save the Children Foundation.”

Oscar’s visions define success:  “When you’re old and frail, you have no regrets.  You’ve turned your thoughts into action, fighting every battle you’ve deemed right for everyone.”

Daniel Paredes, Volunteer of the Month

_i5a3063

We couldn’t be more proud of Daniel, a Future Leaders Academy scholar. As a high school junior, not only is he a stellar student, with a WGPA of 4.4 at Pine View High, but he is a community leader-in-the-making and our volunteer of the month.

Daniel directed and produced the compelling UnidosNow video for our 2016 Giving Challenge campaign, which we entered into the Best Video Contest. He is also developing the design for our organizational brochure.

Daniel, originally from Peru, will be the first in his family to go to college. He has a love of engineering, which was fostered by his father encouraging him to fix things around the house. He’s planning to study engineering at one of the universities where he’ll be applying, including Purdue University Calumet, Syracuse University, and Stanford.

Daniel also happens to love soccer and started an after-school soccer club at Pine View. We know he will go on to great things in the near future! But in the meantime, we’re lucky to have him sharing his brilliant talents with UnidosNow and his community!

This Campaign has ended. No more pledges can be made.