The Diaz family’s story spans several decades and each generation paved the way for the next by establishing roots in the United States and inevitably pursuing greater educational opportunities. It’s a story that starts in the Mexican state of Guanajuato, then to the agricultural fields of California’s Central Valley, and finally the Bay Area. The great-grandson of the man that would move the Diaz family to the United States, Alejandro Diaz, is going to attend the Massachusetts Institute of Technology this fall and he will mark a great achievement for a family of recent immigrants who came to the United States to live the American dream. Enrique Diaz, Alejandro’s father, states:
It’s a milestone… I don’t think that I could have imagined it, let alone my mom or my grandfather.
Enrique’s grandfather had immigrated to the United States in the 1940s under the Bracero program, which allowed Mexican guest workers into the United States for a short term to work. Enrique’s parents then immigrated illegally into the United States with Enrique in 1972 and became U.S. legal resident with the help of Enrique’s grandfather. Enrique’s father only had a third grade education and his mother had a sixth grade education. Enrique started working in the fields with his parents when he was seven years old and he continued to work in the fields until he entered high school. Enrique became the first in this family to attend college, where he met his wife, who was also a first-generation college student, and he is currently an Apple software engineer. Referring to every accomplishment that has come his way, Enrique states:
My fear was that my kids wouldn’t appreciate that. But I’m super happy that they do appreciate it, that they don’t take it for granted.
Now, Alejandro can continue to pave the way for the next generation of his family, the same way that his father, grandfather, and great-grandfather did before him. This is a great success story and it just goes to show that hard work does pay off when trying to live out the American dream.