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North Babylon teen trades 'death' for joy of prom

Natalie Calcasola, 17, of North Babylon, and Marco

Natalie Calcasola, 17, of North Babylon, and Marco Rosero, 17, of North Babylon, walk the grounds of Oheka Castle at North Babylon High School's senior prom in Huntington on Wednesday, June 25, 2014. Credit: Meghan Fitzgerald

For the students of North Babylon High School, celebrating their senior prom at Oheka Castle in Huntington was an incredible opportunity.

But for one North Babylon student, the chance to just attend a prom was one of the many opportunities he is grateful for in America.

"We do not have proms in Ecuador," said 17-year-old Marco Rosero.

Rosero moved to the United States with his parents and older sister when he was 9. He said his father chose to move his family to the United States because of the economic and political turmoil in his home country.

"There was not enough opportunity and the government was oppressive," Rosero said. "Seeing death around you was very common. It's nice to step out in the street here and not have the fear of being shot."

When Rosero came to America, he could not speak English, only knowing "Hi,” “Goodbye” and “I don't know what you're saying." But Rosero picked up English quickly, and now is the salutatorian of North Babylon High School's class of 2014.

He hopes to push his academic limits even further, as he plans to attend MIT in the fall to study architecture and civil engineering. He eventually wants to open his own architectural firm, but he hasn’t forgotten his native land.

"I want to work in Ecuador and help the people there," Rosero said. "The government is changing. I mainly want to focus on building houses for the poor."

While Rosero says he will never forget his roots, he adds that he is grateful to live in the United States and does not take his new country for granted.

"It sounds cliche, but the United States is the land of opportunity," Rosero said. "I knew that I wanted to live here and have success, so I've just been pushing myself for a better future."

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