Affirmative action denouncers have no problem erasing the merits of those who, against the odds, make it. But certainly don’t come to Guillermo Pomarillo and pretend he got into Stanford on something as unmeasurable as luck. This week, the Chicago teen headed to the dentist for a dental cleaning. When asked if he wanted braces, he explained he couldn’t afford them. And even if he received government assistance, he’d be too far away in California starting his freshmen year to make it back for monthly appointments. Guillermo nonchalantly mentioned he enrolled at Stanford, and that’s when the conversation turned ugly. Because of this, Guillermo wrote an open letter to his dentist, who doubted the merits of someone from a low-income background.
“You immediately jumped to ask me what my ACT score was,” he wrote. “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.”
But the dentist didn’t just stop at belittling him; he also compared Guillermo to his daughter, who scored higher (a 35) and didn’t get accepted into Stanford. The dentist proceeded to talk about how it’s easy for kids from neighborhoods like Englewood who attend public schools to get into Ivy Leagues and other prestigious schools.
Funny how the dentist didn’t mention that his daughter comes from a world of privilege – one that allowed her to get a near-perfect score on the ACT – but don’t worry, Guillermo caught it and destroyed him. “To say that I was admitted into a school simply because of my background is ridiculous,” he said. “Of course your daughter was going to score higher than me. You’re a dentist [who] 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.”
Though he never reveals his own score, Guillermo says that the dentist’s daughter only scored a few points higher. Though he had to teach himself English and he didn’t have any help during the college application process, he’s excelled in school his whole life. Getting into Stanford is not a fluke; Guillermo also got into Princeton, Vanderbilt, Northwestern, and Washington University in St. Louis.
“Maybe just maybe, the admissions panel didn’t see perseverance or strength in your daughter,” he continued. “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.”