Queen Cacpal was awarded the 5th annual Purelight book scholarship from Charlie Follis on June 29th, 2014. She has faced and overcome a series of daunting challenges throughout her young life. Her story is a shining example of the American dream in the process of coming true.

Queen was born in Manila, the Philippines. She and her 2 younger siblings moved to Monterey, CA when she turned 12. Together, they rejoined her already transplanted hard working immigrant father. Queen told us she ‘cried herself to sleep every night’ her first 2 years in America while her mother patiently waited in Manila for her U.S. Embassy paperwork to be approved.

The reunited Cacpal family moved to San Jose, CA, where Queen attended Pioneer high. She started out in special English-assisted SDAIE classes with other immigrant students, demonstrating an astounding degree of commitment to learning. She formed strong friendships with Pioneer’s other immigrant girls, an eclectic collection of students whose nationalities ranged from 6 continents! Together these girls helped each other achieve a remarkable degree of English fluency, as well as solid academic proficiency. Through laughter and tears, they collectively helped each other learn how to navigate the tricky cultural waters inherent within any U.S. high school campus.

Queen’s growth as a student and person continues to impress teachers on the Pioneer campus. She got an A in Algebra II during the second semester of her Senior year, no small accomplishment, especially considering where she started in math. She works at a kid’s birthday party restaurant, occasionally volunteering to wear funny, bulky ‘mascot’ costumes so uncomfortable all her workers decline to do so. It’s a source of great laughter amongst her coworkers given her petite size.

Queen has begun exciting, new phases of young life. She plans to begin her studies to become a Registered Nurse this fall at De Anza college. Her family just held her ‘debut’ on her 18th birthday, a day of great significance within her culture. Any potential male suitors will need to understand that, for Queen, school comes first. Her principle goals are to be a student, nurse, and eventually wife and mom – in that order! She understands how hard her family has sacrificed for her opportunity.

Good luck Queenie and congratulations from all your friends and supporters at Purelight! We couldn’t have found a better recipient for our scholarship!