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When first-generation college graduate Alondra Garcia Plascencia walked across the stage on Saturday during the Eastern Oregon University Commencement she walked with the spirit and the energy of everyone who sacrificed to make her dream a reality.
“I’m walking across the stage on Saturday not only for myself,” Garcia Plascenia said, “but for everyone who sacrificed for my education.”
The Elementary Education major who finished her degree remotely is humbled and thankful for the people who helped make her dream of becoming a teacher possible.
The Hermiston native took advantage of EOU’s hybrid program, and participated in Teach Rural Oregon, by studying remotely and doing her student teaching close to home.
“It was awesome,” she said, “I didn’t have to travel very far. I was able to have the luxury of living at home, which helped me save money.”
Garcia Plascencia doesn’t think she had to give up connections with her professors to be an online student.
“You don’t see others (in other institutions) have the connections with professors that I had,” she said. “When you are doing an online program you can be just a number, but at Eastern I felt like a real person.”
Garcia Plascencia took a year off during the pandemic but says she doesn’t regret it at all. Concerned her first year of teaching would require her to be remote, she took a break from her studies. She said, “Waiting was the right thing to do.”
“I was part of the Teach Rural Program in Warrenton,” Garcia Plascencia said. “I got to make connections I wouldn’t have had if it wasn’t for EOU.”
It is still up in the air what her next step will be, as the new graduate takes her first step beginning a new journey.
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