PASCO, Wash. - He is the grandson of migrant workers, the first in his family to be born in this country, and the first in his family headed to college. But Ignacio Bayardo is not going to just any college, he is headed to Harvard.
He will be heading to Harvard this fall and he says it was not luck that he got accepted, it was overcoming adversity with the dream of Harvard in his mind.
"I wanted to prove to those students that it doesn't matter how your background is, you can make it anywhere," Ignacio said.
Ignacio was born and raised in Pasco and at 14 he was living in Mexico and could not speak the language fluently.
"I just read a Spanish dictionary for three weeks to get used to the language and be able to find words that I would use in everyday conversations. So I gave myself like a mini boot camp in Spanish," he said.
He says he used school as his safe place away from problems at home.
"I tried school as an escape and then later as I've gone on and on talking to teachers and fellow students in middle school, I finally figured out school will help me improve myself, not only academically, but also in other aspects of my life," he said.
And it was that attitude that earned him a Gates Millennium Scholarship that will cover his entire education from undergrad to post doctorate.
"Work hard and have set goals in mind, you know what you want. Find it early so they can achieve their goals and hopefully one day do the same thing I'm doing," he said.
Ignacio plans on majoring in science and bio-medical engineering. He says he will pursue a post doctorate degree as well.
He says one of his goals is to help students with troubled pasts, to not let that hold them back from achieving their goals.