This Could Be Phoenix | transformation
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Yvette Hughes
07 Apr

My Phoenix Story: Yvette Hughes-Duenas

The Beginning

My story starts in a small town in London, England, where I was born. My mother, also born in London, had met my father, originally from Nigeria, while he was passing through on his way to America. His dreams to reach the land of opportunity were quickly delayed. My early childhood was spent traveling back and forth from London and Nigeria, which gave me a good idea of what I liked and didn’t like about the two countries. When I was nine, we finally made it to America the beautiful, the great, the desert…

Where is America?

It wasn’t until I was in high school that I realized we were really in America. We had been living in the place my father spoke so highly of. I couldn’t believe that this was it. The weather was hot. It never rained. I couldn’t wear my rain coats that I adored in England. There was no canal like the Regent’s Canal by my grandmother’s. No Broadway Market. I didn’t feel the freedom like I felt in Nigeria. The food wasn’t nearly as good as the food I was used to. The only thing we did downtown was to go to Woolworth's, a general store...what fun.
Aga Westfal-Conboy
10 Mar

My Phoenix Story: Aga Westfal-Conboy

Poland to Arizona!?!

Yes. It's true. When I was eleven years old, my parents decided to migrate to The Land of Opportunity from Warsaw, Poland to start a new life. As excited as I was, I had no idea of what that meant. All I knew about America was from shows my mom and I watched, like "Dynasty," "Full House," and my favorite – "Beverly Hills 90210". I once asked my dad why people in America drive convertibles and never seem to lock their cars in the movies, he jokingly said: "That's because everyone can afford a car so no need to go stealing another person’s car." Cool!

Growing up in North Phoenix

Friday, Dec. 13th, 1994 – the big, scary move. I remember getting off the plane, getting in a car and soaking up the views of Phoenix at night. I noticed large freeways, lots of open spaces and cactus! We began our life in North Phoenix, which seemed cool to a foreign kid at first; but then the summer came. What are you supposed to do in this damn heat!? Luckily our apartment had a pool, so that was my life.
03 Mar

My Phoenix Story: Chloe Brooks

I don’t believe in love at first sight. That is, except for Phoenix. We fell in love the moment I first saw it on an ASU recruitment brochure my sister gave me, the red, orange and yellow stripes of the Walter Cronkite School glowing in a desert sunset. I loved the colors and the sleek, modern design of ASU’s buildings, so unlike the brick-and-ivy campuses my sister had toured. And the Cronkite School was one of the top journalism schools in the nation. I knew I liked Arizona—we’d driven through it several times on family road trips, and I had taken photo after photo of flat-topped mesas. Phoenix was close enough to be a day’s drive from home, but far enough that I would be on my own and free. I pictured myself next to one of those mesas, my hair blowing in the hot wind, and I was hooked. I filled out the ASU application with my heart pounding like a new crush.