‘I’m making everybody proud, especially my daughter’: Fairfax Co. high school senior gives grad speech

Anyeli Salguero graduates from Bryant High School in Fairfax County, Virginia. (WTOP/Cheyenne Corin)
Anyeli Salguero's graduation cap. (WTOP/Cheyenne Corin)
Anyeli Salguero’s graduation cap. (WTOP/Cheyenne Corin)
During her senior year, Anyeli Salguero participated in the Genesys Works program as a paid external relations intern. (Courtesy Genesys Works )
Anyeli Salguero with daughter after her graduation from Bryant High School. (Anyeli Salguero)
Anyeli Salguero with daughter during her graduation from Bryant High School. (Anyeli Salguero)
Anyeli Salguero's graduation cap. (WTOP/Cheyenne Corin)

Anyeli Salguero walked across the stage on Wednesday alongside her Bryant High School classmates.

“I know we all have different stories, but I know we all have one thing in common,” Salguero said in a graduation speech at the Fairfax County High School. “And that is today, we can say we made it.”

Salguero’s story begins with coming to the U.S. when she was 7 from Honduras. She then became pregnant at 14 but didn’t let that stop her from finishing her education and becoming the first in her family to graduate. Her story and ability to overcome all her obstacles caused school officials to pick her to speak at the school’s graduation.

“I just think that I’m making everybody proud, especially my daughter, too, because like my graduation cap says, ‘My diploma, her future,’” said Salguero.

Salguero credits a program Bryant offers called Project Opportunity that helps students who are pregnant or parents secure a diploma. A component of Project Opportunity is Jobs for Virginia Graduates (JVG), which provides college/career readiness training.

The program also helps students secure essentials, such as diapers, food, strollers and car seats. Bryant even has transportation for parents and their child to Bryant, where there’s a day care located downstairs.

“I think having my daughter at day care downstairs helped a lot, because I could get off the bus, drop her off to day care, focus on school when I was there, then go home together,” said Salguero.

It wasn't an easy journey for a Fairfax County high school senior who shared her story of being an immigrant, a teen mom, and now a first-generation graduate.

Salguero also thanked her family for their continuous support and her school counselor Margaret Veenstra who told her about Project Opportunity. Veenstra describes Salguero as a leader in the group of teen parents who many looked up to.

“As you can imagine, there’s many obstacles teen parents face, so we try to break down that barrier,” said Veenstra.

Bryant’s principal Christopher Larrick said he takes pride in his school’s ability to provide a smaller, nontraditional setting for students facing unique circumstances.

He said the school’s resources and environment has drawn in many students from across the county. Larrick said he remembers the day he met Salguero, then seven months pregnant, walking to school and helping her get transportation. He described her as a warrior who never gives up.

“She was actually in labor here at Bryant, on the stretcher and the paramedics in our main office,” said Larrick. “And I was standing with her and I was holding her hand and she was crying and, we were telling her everything’s gonna be OK.”

Salguero completed 10th and 11th grade last year. During her senior year, she participated in the Genesys Works program as a paid external relations intern.

Once she finishes her internship, she is attending Northern Virginia Community College in the fall for her associates degree. Afterwards, she plans to attend Wilson College in Pennsylvania to study business.

“Don’t put your baby as an excuse to not come to school,” Salgeuro says to other young moms. “It might be hard some days to wake up, get the baby ready and come to school. You have to have that motivation.”

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Cheyenne Corin

Cheyenne Corin is a part-time reporter for WTOP News. She has worked in the Washington, D.C. area since 2020. Before joining WTOP, she worked as a WDVM/DC News Now Montgomery County Bureau Reporter, TheJasmineBrand Entertainment Correspondent and PHL 17 Reporter.

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