When Franklin Velasquez first showed up at Oakland International High School, he was seventeen, and had been out of school for a full year. He'd crossed into the US by himself, fleeing persecution in Guatemala, and spent a year working in day labor zones, doing gardening, construction, moving, and other irregular odd-jobs, while living with a distant relative. After a year of this, he was desperate to get back to school to continue his studies so he showed up at the front door late one August evening. "Can I come to school here?" he asked.
Though he wanted an education, school wasn't always easy for Franklin. In spite of how smart and determined he was, Franklin was working full time during 10th and 11th grades, and living alone. He was struggling to both support himself and keep up in school. Plus, he had no papers, and was fighting an immigration case with the help of his attorneys at OIHS partner agency, East Bay Sanctuary Covenant.