MISSION, Texas – IDEA Mission sophomore Yahanna Gonzalez was born without the ability of sight. Two years ago Yahanna’s mother was deported, leaving her and her siblings in the care of their grandmother.

“I felt sad for me for her and for my family,” said Yahanna Gonzalez, IDEA Mission student.

Through braille classes at IDEA Mission she is breaking down barriers. She has a new positive outlook on life and is honing some of those braille skills. Recently Gonzalez competed in the National Braille Institute Regional competition, the only one of it’s kind in North America. Testing her braille skills in 5 different areas, Gonzalez placed 2nd in her division.

“I was very nervous and excited at the same time, but Mrs. Olivo said the most important thing is having a good time. I competed but had a good time,” said Yahanna.

Gracelia Olivo, one of Yahanna’s instructors, says she was a bit nervous before the competition. But just like many obstacles in her life, she has had to overcome, she succeeds.

“She is excellent at what she attempts to do and even when things are a little hard for her she makes it a point to go ahead and put the effort to learn,” Said Graciela Olivo, Yahanna’s teacher.

Yahanna’s grandmother says since enrolling at IDEA she is more assured of herself and is opening up.

“Everything that she wants to learn she can do it. I like it that here at IDEA she has received a lot of support and I’m very happy,” said Marcelina Gonzalez, Yahanna’s grandmother.

Yahanna says her mother’s deportation has inspired her to become an immigration attorney. That is something that doesn’t surprise anyone who knows her. Olivo says Gonzalez has always been an advocate for others and isn’t afraid to speak up, not to be scared, to be independent.

“I don’t want the story to repeat again and I don’t want other children to suffer without their family. I want to help other families to get their papers to keep them here in the United States.”