Thank you all for being here — and thank you for all you do for St. John Paul II School.
My name is Tatiana Bunay, and I have a dream for our world. It is one of respect and acceptance and equality — and education is key to making this dream come true.
My education began at St. John Paul II School, where I attended from Kindergarten to 8th grade. I remember going to mass every Friday, our Christmas and Lenten practices and playing sports. I felt very safe at JPII, where I was surrounded by people who helped me grow and challenged me to do my best.
These high expectations and challenging lessons helped prepare me for high school. When I graduated from DeLaSalle in 2017, I applied to several colleges, including St. Benedict, St. Thomas and Augsburg. Although I was accepted at all of them, I decided on the University of Minnesota.
I am proud and humbled to be the first in my family to attend college.
Today, am a sophomore at the U studying sociology and marketing. In my first year, I was selected for the President’s Emerging Scholars program, which encourages and supports high-achieving, historically underserved students in their pursuit of a bachelor’s degree. The PES Program encourages and supports academic, career, and personal wellbeing through scholarships, programming, professional advising, and peer mentoring.
I was selected to become a mentor in the PES program through a process that included a written essay, an interview, and a presentation, which I did on the misrepresentation of Latinos in the media.
I could not have accomplished any of this without YOUR help. Your gifts to St. John Paul II gave me access to a Catholic education my family could not otherwise afford. You have helped me – and others like me – to dream big!
My dream is to become an immigration lawyer, working for respect, acceptance and equality. Thank you for believing in me; I won’t let you down.