Garcia Gets Educated to Educate

Tania+Garcia+smiles+at+their+graduation+at+the+Thomas+and+Mack+center+from+Valley.+Garcia+wore+the+Valley+Viking+Scholars+stole%2C+which+they+were+a+founding+board+member+of+that+year.

Courtesy of Tania Garcia

Tania Garcia smiles at their graduation at the Thomas and Mack center from Valley. Garcia wore the Valley Viking Scholars stole, which they were a founding board member of that year.

Kahleia Corpuz, Editor-in-Chief

Alumni Tania Garcia is making progress toward their teaching certification, a decision Valley helped them make.

At Valley, Garcia started off in the International Baccalaureate program. After nearly 10 years in the program, they decided to move away from the program and enter Advanced Placement classes instead. With this decision, Garcia explains that the classes not only challenged them academically but personally as well.

“Entering AP classes was an adjustment because I felt alone but incredibly challenged, but the people in these classes encouraged me,” Garcia said. “I became more resilient and learned to advocate for myself. In college, you are completely in charge of your education which means you have to advocate for yourself and be resilient to the changes that come with college…. I learned these tools in high school because of my teachers and peers. I am a better student and member of the community because of it.”

During their time at Valley, Garcia met English teacher Kelly Pedrick and history teacher Rick Diaz, who they say allowed them to regain faith in themselves during a very difficult time in their life.

“I became very sick my junior year of high school, which meant I spent some time in the hospital unable to go to school,” Garcia said. “Mrs. Pedrick was there for me emotionally and academically when I returned to school. I was in a very dark place where I had lost faith in my abilities as a student, but Mrs. Pedrick was there to remind me of my resilience and how I can overcome the challenges that were ahead of me. With her support, and Mr. Diaz as well, they both helped me get through one of the most difficult times not only in my life but in high school.”

Pedrick’s class also solidified their career choice to become a teacher. Her class was the highlight of their day, and it provided them an educator to look up to and model themselves towards.

“I can not thank [Pedrick] enough for the countless lessons I have learned about writing but real-life tools as well,” Garcia said. “I learned about advocating for my education and for others, time management, and the power I hold as a writer. She is truly an inspiration and someone I look up to as a future educator. I hope that I can be as good of a teacher as she is to my future students and have the same impact she had on me and my peers.”

Garcia poses at their Senior Sunrise, a tradition that happens towards the beginning of senior year. Garcia is reminded of the relationships they made at Valley which allowed them to create a close-knit community at Valley.

After graduating, Garcia went into the TRiO Scholars Program at the University of Nevada, Reno or UNR, for short. This program is meant to empower first-generation college students to succeed post graduation. By maintaining a high GPA, Garcia has been awarded scholarships from this program as well.

“Maintaining this GPA has been hard but worth every moment knowing that I worked hard for it and that I have become a more well-rounded student because of these courses,” Garcia said. “Speaking of courses, I am in my Spring Semester of my sophomore year but currently I am taking Junior level as I had tested out of some because of AP classes that I took in high school and how fast-paced my program is.”

Garcia aims to become an English teacher teaching abroad through the PackTeach program at UNR with a TESOL certification. However, they say their success is fueled not only by their hard work but by the inspiration they have from their family.

“My family and I immigrated from El Salvador when I was four years old,” Garcia said. “We left everything behind so I could have an opportunity at a great education and have opportunities I would have never had back home. My drive from being the first person to graduate high school to now succeeding in college is making every hardship we went through worth it. My parents are hard-working people who support me through all of my dreams and continue to make sacrifices to make sure I live a wonderful life. They are the reason why I work hard everyday in school, work, and in my personal life.”

Garcia is continuing to work toward their long term goals by researching programs to teach abroad and is studying for their PRAXIS exam, which measures academic skills and content knowledge. Garcia not only does it for themselves, but for the people who are looking up to them every single day.

“I am the aunt of three little one’s who look up to me as their role model, and I take that very seriously,” Garcia said. “Even though it pains me to be away from my family for most of the year and especially now with [COVID-19], I want to make sure that I am someone worthy of their admiration. This does not only include achieving good grades or earning money but becoming a better version of myself everyday. I want to demonstrate that even if we are a low-income immigrant family, that we can succeed and make a name for ourselves. I dream of the day that I receive my two bachelors, and I can give them to my mother and father because we earned those together. For my niece and nephews, [I want them] to see their aunt succeeding and going into the world as an educated individual that is a kind, resilient, and knowledgeable member of society.”