I’m humbled to be the first in my family to attend and graduate from college, creating a pathway for my sister and cousins to pass this on to future generations.
And yet, none of this was supposed to happen.
Our parents arrived in this country with nothing and sacrificed so much so that we could get an education. I was told by my high school counselor that college was “not for me.”
With a lot of hard work, and with the support of my 10,000 Degrees Fellow, who helped me access free financial aid, and apply for the 10,000 Degrees and other scholarships, one of my proudest achievements is graduating from UC Davis with a double major in Sociology with an emphasis in Law and Society & Chicano/a Studies.
Now when a family member graduates, my sister and I have created a new tradition of being impressed instead of surprised.
And our parents—who always wanted us to go to college but didn’t know what it would take—are now education ambassadors in our community.
From both Yesenia and myself, thank you for your continued commitment to our students!
10,000 Degrees Alum & Director of College Access, San Francisco & Silicon Valley
University of California, Davis, 2018
Santa Rosa Junior College, 2016
Earning my bachelor’s degree has been something that has not been easy. We have faced a lot of obstacles along the way. No matter how hard life can get, my education has been something that no one can take away. Jose showed me it could be done.
Earning a 4.0 GPA was something I assumed I would never earn. But through a lot of hard work, I was able to achieve this dream not just once but multiple times. For many, it might seem small. But for the little girl who sat in special ed class and felt ashamed, it meant the world.
My bachelor’s degree goes out to my family who have worked very hard to get me to where I am today. The next one, my post-graduate degree, will be for me. I owe it to myself to continue my education.
10,000 Degrees Alum
California State University, Sacramento, 2023