Oxnard student from Honduras celebrates high school graduation despite hardships

Ashley Mackey Image
Thursday, June 6, 2024
Oxnard student celebrates high school graduation despite hardships
Despite numerous challenges, Honduras-born Marlen Oviedo graduated from Channel Islands High School.

Despite numerous challenges, 18-year-old Marlen Oviedo overcame them and walked across the stage with her high school graduating class.

Oviedo came to the United States from Honduras just 2 and 1/2 years ago. She spoke little to no English and has had to overcome difficult living situations.

With her parents currently not part of her life, Oviedo has had to fend for herself, often using her school campus as a safe space. Through it all, Oviedo graduated from Channel Islands High School.

"It means a lot to me," Oviedo said. "It's like my first goal that I've always been fighting for."

Despite knowing very little English when she first arrived, Oviedo's English teacher and mock trial coach, Monica Adrian, says she's passed all tests to be considered bi-literate and bi-lingual, and has collected several accolades as a speech and debate competitor.

"When other students like her have obstacles like she's faced, they give up," Adrian said. "And instead, she took these obstacles and she turned them into learning opportunities. Nothing has deterred this young woman and she's going to be amazing."

Thanks to loved ones and close friends, Oviedo had a place to sleep. As someone who's faced similar challenges, the school's assistant principal says the county migrant education program has been a huge resource for children of migrant farm workers.

"I myself had to work in the fields, and so when I see her, I know that she's going to succeed," said Vanessa Calderon-Garcia, the school's assistant principal. "Like many of us have done it in this country."

"My situation in Honduras wasn't that comfortable, so that keeps... always reminding me that I need to continue," Oviedo said. "I need to break those patterns that have been many generations before."

Marlen will attend Oxnard College in the fall to continue towards her dream of becoming a nutritionist.