San Miguel Middle School Welcomes Lorena Rivas

San Miguel Middle School Welcomes Lorena Rivas

San Miguel Middle School

Lorena Rivas’ clientele Thursday was a little younger, bubbly and perhaps even gentler than who she’s normally accustomed to consulting with at her Tulsa law offices’ The Lawyers of Kendall Whittier and Rivas & Associates.

Not that they were any less important.

Quite the contrary.

The prominent immigration attorney visited San Miguel Middle School to “chat” with the school’s sixth through eighth grade girls during San Miguel’s annual “Meet a Local Leader” event.

“I felt so honored to be able to talk to those very special and very talented young ladies,” Lorena Rivas said. “They need to be supported and know that they can accomplish anything and everything.”

Rivas told her audience to dream big and stay hungry … “Hungry to be better, hungry to learn, hungry to improve, hungry to conquer your dreams!”

Rivas knows a thing or two about dreaming big. The proud daughter of two Mexican nationals, Rivas grew up in tiny Mutual, Oklahoma. She became inspired to be an attorney at 4 after her father was injured on a job site and an attorney came to her family’s aid.

“We were a low-income family, but I remember who came to the rescue for (my parents) and it was an attorney,” said Lorena Rivas, a first-generation Mexican-American. “Somebody who took up their case, fought for them and got us some funds. Did we get a lot? No, probably not … But it was something to keep us going and allowed us to keep our house, keep food on the table and keep us dreaming. That is (when) I got my first taste of what an attorney is and how important they are to people.

“After seeing the importance of a lawyer, I knew I wanted to be somebody that important to somebody in their life and help them out.”

As Rivas glanced at her San Miguel Middle School audience Thursday, she couldn’t help but relate to many of its members. San Miguel is a school “dedicated to helping children from challenging environments regardless of race, nationality, or religion to achieve academic and personal success.”

“It is hard not to be inspired by them,” Lorena Rivas said. “They were a little wide-eyed Thursday, but they have the ability to accomplish so many great things, and they already are doing that by being at San Miguel. I told them to not only dream big, but to hold onto their dreams and chase them down.”  

The sixth through eighth grade school is a two-minute walk away from both of Rivas’ law offices and is located in Tulsa’s Kendall Whittier neighborhood which is considered by many to be the “hub of Hispanic culture.”

San Miguel is part of the nationally operated Nativity Miguel schools that offer private education to at-risk students from low-income families who typically struggle in elementary school.

San Miguel does not charge tuition and is funded by donations, and students have access to support services such as Catholic Charities, a medical clinic, immigration services and bilingual classes.

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