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Undocumented Students' Advocate Is Principal of New Charter School

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Yvonne Watterson, who has been featured in the New York Times for her efforts to raise private funds to pay for the college education of undocumented students, has a new job as a principal of a charter school in Arizona that is scheduled to open this fall (hat tip to Joanne Jacobs.)

Last December, Watterson was fired as principal of Gateway Early College High School, in Phoenix, which had some undocumented students who she helped get money to pay for college courses. Citing personnel-confidentiality concerns, the school's officials never said publicly why she was fired, according to a March 19 article in the Arizona Republic. The article says Watterson was both praised and criticized publicly for taking a position in raising funds for the education of undocumented students.

Watterson edited a book, Documented Dreams, that contained thank-you letters from her students to donors describing their college dreams.

Alhambra College Preparatory School will be administered by the Alhambra Elementary School District in Arizona and will have the goal of enabling students to get college credits while attending classes at the charter school, according to the Arizona Republic article.

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Every June for the past eight years, hundreds of undocumented high school and college students have traveled to Washington from across the country and urged Congress to pass a bill that would make it easier for them to become citizens and pursue higher education.

They showed up again yesterday, staging a mock graduation ceremony designed to highlight the plight of about 65,000 undocumented people who graduate from U.S. high schools every year but often find that their legal status prevents them from attending college.

"Share your story with close friends," said Benita, who did not give her last name because she is in the country without papers. Having recently received two bachelor's degrees from St. Mary's University in Texas, she encouraged participants in the event: "Wherever you are, choose to fight. Be more than a dreamer. Be a leader."

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