Nine Magic Numbers is a multimedia project that shares the stories of undocumented youth in New York City and their experiences with higher education and the college process. All names of undocumented students have been changed for fear of legal consequences.

Before becoming a journalist I was a high school English teacher in the South Bronx. Every year one or two hard working students would mysteriously not apply to college, not be accepted to college, or could not afford to go to college. One of those former students is included within this project.

As a teacher, the idea that all students did not have equal access to higher education did not make sense to me.

Through my research and reporting I have attempted to make sense of the experience of undocumented students in New York City and this project aims to bring to light some of the issues and challenges they face when attempting to acquire higher education.

Written, Produced, and Edited by: 
Lindsay A. Lazarski
Multimedia Journalist
CUNY Graduate School of Journalism

Special thanks to the students who allowed me to share their stories for this project.

Also special thanks to Professors Sandeep Junnarkar, Bob Sacha, and Russell Chun for their editorial guidance and Drew Geraets and Kristen Joy Watts for their technical support


  1. Dan Abramoski
    Posted December 16, 2009 at 3:45 pm | #

    Great project. The students’ stories about their struggles to attend college are very powerful and help make an issue that is often ignored much more personal and much harder to overlook. These stories make the injustice of not offering financial aid to all high school graduates apparent. Hopefully, policy makers see this project and start advocating for the DREAM Act and comprehensive immigration reform so that students like these have access to the resources they deserve.

  2. Posted January 8, 2010 at 2:33 am | #

    Its amazing to see how the project turned out. Definitely captured the essence of an undocumented students life.

  3. georlen
    Posted February 9, 2010 at 1:08 pm | #

    I hope that these stories touch the heart of those who refuse to help undocumented students. In most cases these students do not have the option to chose their destiny, it is definitely not easy to live the life they live. I want to thank Lazarski for teaching us a new lesson.

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