A New York teen has one of the longest school commutes on the planet — a journey of more than five hours each day. Santiago Munoz takes two busses and two trains each day from his home in Queens to Bronx High School of Science, one of the nation’s top schools.
His story was featured in a photo exhibit at the United Nations, detailing the hardships children face getting to school. Many of the kids highlighted in the exhibit are from developing countries, including a girl in Kenya who walks two hours to school.
"Even though it takes me longer, their trips are harder," Munoz told HLN affiliate WABC. "I think I’m privileged to take a train compared to a donkey. I’d prefer a long ride and a safer trip than going one hour through a gang-filled or war-torn country."
The ninth-grader wakes up at 5 a.m. each school day. Santiago — whose mom died when he was 6 — leaves the six-room apartment he shares with his dad and five other relatives just before 6 a.m. The one-way trip runs between 2 hours 20 minutes and 2 hours 40 minutes, depending on how transit is running. Nonetheless, Santiago isn’t complaining. "The trip I do every day to get to school everyone should be willing to do to get a good education," he said.
He could have gone to school closer to home, but the aspiring physician chose Bronx Science for its famed math and science programs. "This gives me a better opportunity to become a doctor," he said. "I find the human body very interesting, and it’s something I’d like to study."
He uses his time on trains to catch up on schoolwork — if he gets a seat. Santiago hopes his hard work and sacrifice will all pay off. "If you get the chance to go to college, then it’s worth it," he said. He would like to attend MIT or Columbia University.
As a parent, would you allow your child to endure a similar commute each day in order to obtain a high quality education? Tweet @KyraHLN with the #RaisingAmerica hashtag or leave your thoughts on Facebook.com.
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