by Genesis Alba
Since September. 1, Class of 2021 Junior Lorenzo Menor has been adjusting to American life, including a new school, after nearly 16 years of living in his native Philippines, more than 8,000 miles from Tucson.
Despite the educational system at Pueblo High School being very different than the Philippines, he said that he is finding his way around.
“There are so many opportunities here [in Tucson and America], around every corner,” Menor said, “and I just want to take advantage of as many as possible.”
Currently, Menor is earning straight A’s.
“Even though my grades are high, I’m still experiencing culture shock,” he added. “I’m not used to classrooms being so informal. Students and teachers are much more ‘chill’ with one another. In the Philippines, we students were often intimidated by our educators.”
Two years ago, Menor’s father moved from the Philippines and landed a math teaching job at St. John’s Catholic School, and the rest of the family were reunited two months ago.
“Tucson has been great so far,” Menor said. “I’m glad that our family is together at last.”
Menor’s mother is trying to find a permanent teaching job, and she is currently substitute-teaching. He also has a younger sister.
“I’m trying to keep myself busy,” he said. “I’m emotionally recovering from a breakup with my girlfriend. The distance killed our relationship.”
Despite feeling “lost” without her, Menor said that life is “a beautiful gift.”
“We all have our own journeys, and we need to respect them, as well as others,” Menor said.
Recently, he found out that he has been accepted to an apprenticeship at the University of Arizona—related to medical ignorance. Dr. Lolita Levine, Pueblo science teacher, helped him with the paperwork.
“Even though I plan to major in computer science, I’m going to take full advantage of this experience,” Menor said. “I’m going to be making minimum wage [$12/hour] for eight hours each day while learning at the same time. How lucky am I?”
As for the rest of the school year, he hopes to get out of his “slump” and become more social. “I know I need to work on my confidence,” he said. “I need to take advantage of all of the opportunities that are available in this country. I don’t think American [students] know the true meaning of poverty. Go to the Philippines. I’ll show you poverty.”