WORTHINGTON, Minn. (AP) — Perla Banegas arrived in Worthington a decade ago, on a Greyhound bus from Los Angeles. Her single mom had heard about a safe, quiet town in the upper Midwest and steady jobs at its meatpacking plant.
In sixth grade that year, Banegas quickly got a reputation as a painfully shy kid — and a talking-to for taking too many bathroom breaks. She wasn’t shy: She just didn’t understand a word of English in class. In bathroom stalls, she’d have a good cry and then give herself a pep talk: “You have to go back and try.”
She did. And she graduated.