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Beyond the Classroom: Gregory Examines Issues Affecting Hispanic Communities

Thursday, July 8, 2021


Portrait of Mackenzie GregoryAs the situation at the Southern border continues to unfold, Mackenzie Gregory recently shared her views on the issue in a report she submitted in her Spanish 101 class at St. Louis Community College. Gregory wrote the paper to earn honor’s credit, a special recognition awarded to students at graduation who have met the honor’s program criteria at STLCC.

Burnette McNamee, adjunct instructor, said Gregory’s report reflected careful thought and thorough research on a complex and timely topic.

“While we generally focus on grammar and fluency in Spanish 101, Mackenzie showed great initiative when she suggested this topic for an honor’s project,” McNamee said. “Her analysis not only demonstrated a deep understanding of the history of the U.S.-Mexico border and the many factors that have led us to where we are today, but she also offered concrete solutions that could help solve some of the problems.”

Among these, Gregory wrote the following in the report.

“To fix the border crisis, the U.S. can develop more humane and regulated policies. Instead of spending billions of dollars to militarize the border, we could create programs that welcome immigrants and refugees and supply shelter and help for them. We could provide aid to the countries that suffer the dangers and issues that cause their people to migrate. Threatening and oppressing measures cause more fear and chaos among immigrants trying to cross the border and natives not wanting them to come here. We need to change the image of the border and the migrants who try to enter it…

… Many deep-rooted issues surround the problems we have with our border. However, the sooner we think about our actions, develop our consideration and compassion for migrants, and use our resources logically, the sooner we will have a happier, healthier, and more accepting country.”

McNamee was so impressed with Gregory’s work that she submitted the report to the office of U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris.

“Ideally, it would be wonderful if Mackenzie could receive acknowledgement for the quality of her research and her interest in current issues affecting Hispanic communities,” McNamee said.

Gregory participated in STLCC’s dual enrollment program with McKinley High School. In May, she graduated with both her high school diploma and an associate degree.

“I always wanted to get ahead in school to pursue my life goals, so starting college early was a great opportunity I couldn't pass up,” she said. “I am currently studying astronomy and English at a four-year university, with the goal of becoming a professor and an author.”

When asked what advice she would offer others, she said, “If you have the opportunity to take college classes in high school, you definitely should. It will prepare you whether you continue college afterwards or start your first job. Work hard, and be a part of the programs and groups around you. Your work and dedication will pay off.”

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