He defied odds to get into Stanford. Now people want to say he didn’t earn it.

Guillermo Pomarillo (Linked In)

Guillermo Camarillo (Linked In)

A Stanford-bound teen from Chicago had an uncomfortable conversation with his dentist that led him to pen a Facebook posting that’s going viral.

I am sharing Guillermo Camarillo’post because it addresses many of the issues we discuss often on the blog. (On Facebook, Guillermo uses the pseudonym Pomarillo.) You can read more about him on GoFundMe, Linked In and in this news story.)

I also am sharing the 18-year-old’s followup Facebook post in which he addresses the negative comments he’s received about his posting.

I have no doubt Guillermo not only belongs at Stanford, but that he will do well there majoring in biomedical engineering. He is an AP scholar as a result of his high AP scores.

Good luck to him.

Here is his original post:

So I went to the dentist today. And wrote an open letter of my experience:
Dear Dentist,
Today, I came into your office after leaving work early. Little did you know that I had to walk 1.5 miles to be able to make my appointment. My mother and father couldn’t drive me because they were busy working. But, it was imperative for me to have my teeth cleaned before going to school. So I decided that I would walk that distance. I came into your office hoping that things will go by fast. They did. I was called and I sat on a chair where a lady vigorously cleaned my teeth (it’s fine tho, I really did need a cleaning). The lady then asked me if I wanted or needed braces, humorously I told her I did, but I couldn’t afford them. She then told me you will come and talk to me. You then approached me and asked me if I wanted braces. I told you that I tried a year ago to get braces through a government program but was denied help. You then asked me if I wanted to try to apply to get help again (Note this government help takes weeks or months to be approved). I told you that it wouldn’t be of any use cause I was going away for college and I will be far away (I wouldn’t be able to make monthly appointments for my braces). You looked at me perplexed. I nonchalantly said, “I’m going to Stanford.’ Your initial reaction was surprised. But, were you surprised because you had a Stanford student on your chair or because you had a minority, low-income student, that needed government help to get braces, and would be attending Stanford on your chair? I believe it was the latter.

You immediately jumped to ask me what my ACT score was? It was weird cause I have never had a professional ask me that. I answered honestly. Your response after that clearly showed what you were thinking. You sarcastically said “Wow you got (blank) on the ACT?! And you got into Stanford?” I was confused, I had always thought my ACT score wasn’t too bad. I mean, I got admitted into many other schools other than Stanny. You then said, “Well my daughter got a 35 and she didn’t get into Stanford. She goes to Umich.” In my head I thought, “Wow that’s great, UMich is a good school.” But you didn’t stop there, you kept going. You said, “Well when you have kids from neighborhoods like THESE, like you know, ENGLEWOOD. It’s easy for them to get into Harvard or Stanford with a (states my score) .” In my mind, I was confused. Did he really just say that? But you didn’t stop. You kept going. You said, “You know, when kids go to schools around here. (AKA public schools in minority neighborhoods) It’s easier for them to get into schools like Stanford. My daughter goes to a school where like 20 kids get perfect ACT scores.” I stayed quiet. He continued, “You’re very lucky. Consider yourself very lucky. Getting into Stanford is like competing on The Voice, you know, when you get the buzzer.”

Wait what? So you’re telling me that 18 years of rigorous hard work is like going on The Voice. You’re telling me that pure luck got me admitted into not only Stanford, but schools like Princeton, Vanderbilt, Northwestern, and WASHU, and waitlisted at Tufts, Penn, and Columbia (I didn’t tell him this btw)?! To say that I was admitted into a school simply because of my background is ridiculous. OF COURSE, YOUR DAUGHTER WAS GOING TO SCORE HIGHER THAN ME.

You’re a dentist that can afford to send her to a school that will help her achieve a score like that. You’re an educated dentist, with a college degree and dentistry degree. My parents, two undocumented immigrants that only obtained a grammar school education, couldn’t afford to send me to private schools. Yes, I may have grown up in a neighborhood that doesn’t have many young kids going to schools like Stanford. But it doesn’t mean that people where I come from don’t have the potential to succeed at Stanford. We deserve to go to places like Stanford.

You belittled me. You labeled me. Yes, my name gave it off. But you were completely ignorant of my struggles. Little do you know that I grew up in a house where Spanish was only spoken. I had to learn English on my own. I grew up in a household where at times we couldn’t afford to pay our rent or didn’t have enough food for the whole week. I grew up in a household where my parents were clueless of the college application process, and it was up to me to make sure I submitted all my papers for college. I grew up in a household where college seemed like a distant dream. I grew up in a household where I will not only be the first one attending college, but I will be the first one to leave my home. So yes, your daughter scored higher than me on the ACT. But, she literally scored a few points higher than me. If those few points mean that she is better than me, then you are neglecting a lot. You are neglecting that I faced more struggles than your daughter. You are neglecting that all odds were against me. But you feel entitled to say that I got “lucky” and that “because of where I come from” I got into Stanford. Little do you know that at a young age I excelled in classrooms. My mother kept transferring me schools every time we moved to a new, cramped apartment.

But I excelled. I went to a high school 7 miles from my house to be able to be pushed more. I attended one of the best high schools in Chicago and was accepted to other top ranked high schools in Chicago. So If pure luck gets you into some of the best schools in the country, then there is something wrong with our admissions process. Maybe just maybe, the admissions panel didn’t see perseverance or strength in your daughter. After all, her father, a dentist, is able to help her achieve a score like that through financial help or even tutoring.

Maybe just maybe, the admissions panel saw beyond a score when seeing my profile. It doesn’t mean that I’m better than your daughter. It means that I have the strength, the determination, the perseverance to succeed in a place like Stanford. And maybe the admissions panel didn’t see that in your daughter? Cause trust me, schools like Stanford look at everything, not only scores.

Sincerely,
The poor Latino boy that needs government help to get braces, but is still Stanford bound 😉

As you might imagine, this posting has created a stir and a backlash. While many applaud Guillermo’s many accomplishments, others have not been kind or supportive. He chose to respond to their hostility and criticisms by writing:

So, I am really giving many people here the benefit of the doubt. Maybe some of you are clueless or some of you jump to conclusions. But, here are some important points I will like to make.

  1. I got a full-ride to Stanford through a private organization called QuestBridge.
  2. I graduated with a perfect GPA and took 11 AP courses in high school. (UW GPA: 4.0 Weighted GPA: 5.24)
  3. My ACT score ranges from 30-36 (I will not state my actual score because I will like to keep that private). I scored in the top 95 percentile in the country.
  4. My tuition isn’t paid for by any taxpayers. I am going to a PRIVATE institution where I receive grants from the pool of money they have raised through alumni and donors.
  5. This is not fake. I did not disclose the information of the dentist or of his office because I didn’t make this post with the intention to get back at him. I am giving him the benefit of the doubt. Maybe he doesn’t know of the struggles that students like me face, maybe he’s clueless? Therefore, I refrained to release his name because I am sure that he is not a bad person. I believe people can change and if he has come across my letter I hope it moves him to change. Also, he is a man with a family and I would hate to put his career in jeopardy. I didn’t do this post out of anger. I did it to bring awareness to the reality that many students face across the nation.
  6. I participated in EC’s ranging from interning at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, playing varsity volleyball, and competing in Mathletes.
  7. Many of you really don’t deserve an explanation from me. But, I felt obligated to state these things because no, being a low-income, Latino, doesn’t mean that you automatically score lower than others or are inferior to other groups. After all, I did score better than most of the kids in this country.
  8. I belong in Stanford. I will prosper in Stanford. If you are bothered by me going to Stanford, too bad cause Stanford is my home. I belong there. And so do the thousands of other minority, underprivileged (including whites) students in college campuses across the nation.

Reader Comments 0

54 comments
Itsbrokeletsfixit
Itsbrokeletsfixit

I'm really proud of you Guillerumo! Yes, you should do well at Stanford, but be careful of falling victom to the same arrogant disease that afflicts your dentist. What a small-minded, envious little man! 

taylor48
taylor48

OK, I don't get it.  This kid did everything we tell poor kids to do.  He worked hard in HS, got good grades, took challenging classes, scored well on AP and the ACT tests, and got into an excellent college.  When he graduates from that top level school, he'll get a good job and pay taxes.  He'll probably never take a dime of assistance other than what he may be getting to help for college, and he'll be someone who contributes to our economy, and yet some people here are STILL knocking him because he did it all without being lily white.  What more do you want this kid to do?  Give up his spot at Stanford so some upper middle class white girl can have it??

CarlosSantiago
CarlosSantiago

@taylor48 Taylor, nobody is knocking him because he's not lily white, or because he worked hard, took challenging classes, and did well on the tests.  He is to be commended for his hard work and dedicated study habits. 
What some of us are disappointed about is that...if there were other students who had BETTER grades and scores who were not accepted to Stanford....then he really DIDN'T deserve his spot.

He got it because the Stanford admissions people patted him on the back of the hand with that patronizing  "Bless your heart, you can't compete with them white and Asian folks!"  And decided to just sneak him in so they can "make the numbers work" like they want them to.

Itsbrokeletsfixit
Itsbrokeletsfixit

@CarlosSantiago @taylor48 How wrong you are! You are assuming that a single test score defines the potential of a student to be successful in college. It does not! A high score does give a student the opportunity to be considered for admission. But then, it is up to the admissions staff, who have a lot of experience at evaluation potential students, to decide which students make the best fit for their school. Many factors are considered including race, ethnic background,leadership potential, extra curricular activities, and so on. 

Further, the blind assumption that UMich is not a good school because it ranks lower in some people's eyes than Stanford is a very shallow way of looking at it. University of Michigan is an excellent school with a great diversity of programs, superior faculty in many disciplines, (some superior to those at Stanford) and it offers a wonderful opportunity for the dentist's daughter to get a fine education. 

If the dentist were a reasonable and caring adult he should offer congratulations to his patient and try to help him find a way to get his braces while at Stanford. 

As he is, he really needs to work on his predjudice and envy problem, so he can provide better service and health care to his patients. 

Lee_CPA2
Lee_CPA2

Yep, the old BS meter was working overtime on this little foray into politically correct fantasyland.   But hey, if it gets some of the politically correct lemmings to part ways with their money on your GOFUNDME account, more power to you.  Most likely, in a few weeks, we'll find out that young Mr Guillermo is little more than a common fraudster.  

stanleyz
stanleyz

Great story. Having grown up in poverty myself heres my question. Who the heck paid the dentist for a cleaning? Truely poor people have no money for fillings let alone cleanings. Its pull it or nothing.

Mike Higingbotham
Mike Higingbotham

Awesome kid with great grades, but his family was here illegally, correct? Not being racist by any means, just wondering about the situation. Our country has a deficit of how many trillion dollars?

longhairedhippytypepinko
longhairedhippytypepinko

How does a private grant covering his expenses contribute to the deficit?  If his parents are here illegally and their employer is not paying payroll taxes on their income, who is the real criminal? Payroll taxes fund medicaid, no? Why do we punish people trying to feed themselves but give tax cheats a free ride?

ajcandrejackson
ajcandrejackson

I somehow think this young man will do just fine in Palo Alto!

McGarnagle
McGarnagle

Seems like the dentist is upset this kid got into Stanford and his daughter did not. What adds fuel to the fire he his mis-conception that he is unqualified, he is getting a free ride off the tax-payers dime, he is undeserving, and its people like him that are preventing his daughter from going to Stanford or any other high quality college.


Gee, I wonder who could have brain-washed him into thinking that way??

Dan Nightingale Diehl
Dan Nightingale Diehl

Race has nothing to do with a good education expand use your abilities to the max

JBBrown1968
JBBrown1968

Prove these fools wrong kid! Blow Stanford away......get a job......move in next door to your dentist.......and wave and smile at him everyday! 


Then marry is daughter!

Ann Marie Morris
Ann Marie Morris

Good for you young man, so sick and tired of all this division and hate in this world, we are all the same just different shades

General Concern
General Concern

"And maybe the admissions panel didn’t see that in your daughter? "


No, they looked at race. You, young man, got in because of the law of supply and demand. Whites don't excite them, your race does. 


Tell you what--since the city of Atlanta, and the AJC, like this idea of judging people mainly by race, I'll gladly give up any future position I ever could have to some historically disadvantaged minority. After all, being plain vanilla white, what could I possibly bring to the picture that someone like this young man couldn't?

kaelyn
kaelyn

Oh, I'm sure there are still quite a few "plain vanilla white" kids left at Stanford. I'm sure some of them even have lower ACT scores than this impressive young man. By the way, you do know that ethnicity and race are not the same thing, right?

I've come to realize that so much of the ignorance surrounding perceived reverse racial discrimination is grounded in fear. The truth is that there are enough blessings in the world for everyone. Try to remember that the next time you want to believe that someone else's success has to result in your failure.

gactzn2
gactzn2

@44F 3FCE0C 11A2 This student exemplifies why blind admissions policies don't work.  When you consider the obstacles, resilience, and ability to rise to the level of intellectual merit that he did, with minimal resources- and to further score within a few points of the "privileged" daughter of this dentist all while operating with shoestring resources epitomizes what America strives to be- a land of opportunity! All I can say is WOW! I am so proud of that young man for maximizing the opportunities he was able to access! Praying that he lives his dreams!

MaureenDowney
MaureenDowney moderator

@44F 3FCE0C 11A2 If you look at this kid's AP scores -- almost all 5s and 4s -- he is more than qualified. His ACT score also puts him in the top percentile. Sure, someone else may have scored higher, but when you look at the whole package, including the number of AP courses he took, he's clearly able to compete and do the work.

bu22
bu22

@44F 3FCE0C 11A2 It sounds like he is the type of student who deserves credit for his struggles.  We don't know what Stanford considered.  But when colleges admit people because of the color of their skin (or exclude them because of the slant of their eyes), it leads people to doubt those minorities who do get in.  When he gets in with lower ACT scores, that lends further credence to the doubts.  The answer is simple.  Don't discriminate on the base of race, sex or national origin.

ChessMaster
ChessMaster

Stanford turns down some students with 4.0s and perfect ACTs. There are too many of these and frankly, they look at other aspects to develop a diverse class of high achievers. They look at ECs, first generation college in the family, and all sorts of criteria to develop their admins soon list. One thing they realize is that it is hard to identify drive. It is hard to identify people who decades later will use their education to improve our world. Stanford wants to educate tomorrow's leaders and not all of those will have perfect ACT scores.

BTW, anyone receiving a full scholarship to any University is lucky, so while he may have not meant it in that way, the Dentist is right. When it comes up, be polite and thankful that you were able to earn this opportunity, and focus on making the most of it by making you the best you. Maintain your focus and your balance. Best of luck at Stanford.

DrProudBlackMan
DrProudBlackMan

No need to explain Mr. Camarillo; you just had an encounter with white privilege.

Starik
Starik

@DrProudBlackMan How, exactly is admitting this deserving kid to Stanford "white privilege?"  He earned it by hard work, even though he's of Hispanic origin. 

gactzn2
gactzn2

@DrProudBlackMan This student exemplifies why blind admissions policies don't work.  When you consider the obstacles, resilience, and ability to rise to the level of intellectual merit that he did, with minimal resources- and to further score within a few points of the "privileged" daughter of this dentist all while operating with shoestring resources epitomizes what America strives to be- a land of opportunity! All I can say is WOW! I am so proud of that young man for maximizing the opportunities he was able to access! Praying that he lives his dreams!

Starik
Starik

@gactzn2 @DrProudBlackMan There should be a blind admissions policy as to race,  Would a white or Asian kid with the same history have been admitted to Stanford? 

gactzn2
gactzn2

@Starik @gactzn2 @DrProudBlackMan I am sure there are students with a variety of stories and obstacles who have been admitted to ivy league schools and they hail from all walks of life.  This one just happened to  make the press. He had to work much harder than the average middle-upper class student with access to the frills of private tutoring, cultivating certain traits and characteristics in the process that allowed him to thrive despite limitations! This is suggestive of someone with tenacity, self-agency, and an overcoming spirit. He was tested by fire, and made it!

Starik
Starik

@gactzn2 @Starik @DrProudBlackMan Good for him; I seriously doubt there are many, or any, whites from poor backgrounds at Stanford unless they are rated high in sports recruiting. Colleges should for kids like these without considering race or ethnicity.

redweather
redweather

A funny thing about SAT/ACT scores. I deal firsthand with many high school juniors and seniors who are taking classes at the college where I teach. Many of them have impressive test scores and equally impressive GPA's. Many of them also have trouble leaving an understandable voicemail message or conducting a conversation. So test scores and GPA's don't tell us everything.

David Lee McWilliams
David Lee McWilliams

I reached my 4 article limit for the month? Lol...good job. I'll just google and read the same story elsewhere for free.

Ashley Hursh
Ashley Hursh

If you have an iPhone turn your phone on its side and you can scroll past that message ;)

Ashley Hursh
Ashley Hursh

I deleted my comment so they don't fix it \U0001f639

kaelyn
kaelyn

Kudos to this bright, hard working young man. If I could give him one piece of advice it would be that he doesn't owe anyone an explanation. Life is too short to be bothered with people who don't have a clue.

Christie_S
Christie_S

Congrats to him on his academic achievements and good luck at Stanford. Hard work and perseverance will carry you far in life.

Dale Watson
Dale Watson

Yet..you will still think people as him have your best interest at heart..I'm willing to bet he is a firm trump supporter \U0001f612

JBBrown1968
JBBrown1968

Few rich people care about the poor especially politicians. In either party! 

Angel Lemond
Angel Lemond

Wow.... let those haters be your MOTIVATORS

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

Guilliermo still has a lot to learn, his pride in his considerable accomplishments notwithstanding--and not just his mistakes with the language.


He is like a lot of people I see--puffed up with what "he" has accomplished.  Let's have some acknowledgement of the fact that he lives in the most wonderful place in the world and has, even with his hard work, benefited from incredible opportunities that virtually no other country in the world.


He should be proud of himself, but give some of the glory to the place that made it possible, as well as his parents who have also given him so much (obviously).

insideview
insideview

White kids should be "grateful " too, after all ya'll are all immigrants.

Melissa Vance
Melissa Vance

Good for him. \U0001f44d\U0001f44d\U0001f918

Another comment
Another comment

I would like to know about the government program that pays for braces! I sure would have like to get braces as a poor white child than my father taking me to some quack dentist who just pulled one. So all the other teeth have shifted.

The biggest problem is their are no longer any scholarships for low income white or Asian children. The scholarships are all for minorities.

I can tell you specifically that many white Americans, including my self and my friends from college were poorer and had uneducated parents white black or Hispanic students were wealthy.

In college white friends would compare who was poorer, the one who grew up in the rural trailer park, the one who grew up with a coal miner father ( who had black lung and was on disability, they lived is a PA house with no insulation only cold water that you could see through the walls, or the one who share a one bedroom apt with his mother and siblings in jersey city ( mother had mental health issues).. Yet the two wealth Hispanic students asked me and another student ( a high school principals daughter who got work study) if they could hire us to make their bed every day and do their laundry. Our answer was did your maid not show you. We told them we would show them once for free and then they were on their own.

This is why scholarships and grants that discriminate by race or ethnicity aren't fair.

BuckeyeGa
BuckeyeGa

Asians are a minority in the country..and if you didn't find a scholarship based on your income that means you didn't do the research or didn't have the academic aptitude thus kid has.

RoadScholar
RoadScholar

@Another comment "...than my father taking me to some quack dentist who just pulled one. So all the other teeth have shifted.

My dentist when I was a child did the same...pulled teeth in lieu of braces...When my new dentists looked in my mouth, one said Wow, I've never seen that before. Another one called it "interesting!". Been battling grinding since my sub conscience is trying to find the correct seating of my teeth. Now have to wear a mouthpiece at night to  address it.

ShellyTbo
ShellyTbo

You should go to an HBCU. You will be eligible for minority scholarships