Noramay Cadena (NC) and Chassitty Saldana (CS)
NC: A bell would ring in the morning and that meant it was time to start and I spent eight hours a day putting hooks into bungee cords.
I remember thinking, ”I don’t like this place, and I don’t want to work here. I don’t even like it that my parents work here.” But it was my mom’s way of showing me what my life would be like if I didn’t do anything different.
You were born my senior year and someone pulled me out of class and said, ”Hey, you’re good at math, have you ever considered engineering?” I didn’t know what an engineer was so that really opened my eyes, and I knew that I had to go to college.
CS: So while you were at MIT did it ever bother you that you were different from other students because you had me?
NC: Yeah, it wasn’t easy. My rule was to wake up with you in the morning, take you to the daycare center and then spend the evening with you. As soon as you went to sleep, I’d go work on my homework, and sometimes I slept and sometimes I didn’t, but it was really important for me that you felt your day was as normal as all your other friends at the daycare center.
Every week at school, as hard as it was, I kept thinking, ”If I can only get through this week…” And we made it.
CS: Ever since I was little we would have these projects that say, ”Who’s your role model?” I would always put, ”My mom,” because a lot of people said that you wouldn’t graduate, but you did–you graduated MIT twice.
NC: (Laughs) We did. You were there too.
CS: How do you feel about me almost starting college?
NC: I know the last 17 years haven’t been easy but I wanted to set a great example for you. I remember during graduation, seeing how happy my parents were and feeling like I was Superwoman. It felt like the beginning of a new life for all of us and gave me this huge sense of hope for what you would do.
You’re gonna do well too.
CS: I hope so. I’ve definitely learned it all from you.