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Last updated: 2003
When he was eight years old, Victor Maldonado used to cry at night, wondering why his mother – hospitalized with cancer– couldn’t come to his aid. He prayed and prayed for her health and safe return, and considers it a miracle that she survived despite her doctor’s warning that she might not make it. Shortly after his mother’s recovery, Victor’s father was murdered, placing new, adult responsibilities on his young shoulders.
Victor suddenly found himself helping to care for his younger brother who has Downs Syndrome, and his elderly grandmother whose health was deteriorating. In addition to his high academic achievements during this time, Victor also participated in high school football and track; however, because he has to work to support his family, he can no longer participate in sports. After years of bearing these emotional and physical burdens, Victor’s own body began to manifest the stress of his young life. Hospitalized during high school, Victor was forced to drop out of the Humanitas program at Carson High School. However, he joined the staff of the student newspaper as a sports writer, and has become a reliable and enthusiastic staff writer. In spite of his physical ailments, Victor has remained committed to his studies by taking Honors and AP courses, and has refused the notion of giving up.
Victor states, “I feel education is the greatest possession a person can own, it is the only thing a person can’t take away from another person,” and wants to make a better life for himself through higher education. The Children’s Defense Fund is proud to support his endeavor by recognizing him as a 2003 Beat the Odds® honoree.