By Jackson Santy ’13
Over these past few weeks, colleges have sent out decision letters to students around the country.
Seniors eagerly wait to rip open the envelopes determining their future for the next four years.
Some students will follow in their parents’ footsteps attending their alma maters. Others will set off on their own college legacy and some will even be the first of their families to attend college.
Attending Grand Canyon University this fall, Giovanni Valencia ’13 is one of a number of seniors who will be the first in his family to go to college.
“It means so much for me; it’s amazing,” Valencia said. “Just knowing that more opportunities are available to me that unfortunately weren’t available to the rest of my family makes me appreciate everything more.”
Valencia said that getting a college education is essential to being able to succeed in life.
“It makes (my family) really happy knowing that the next generation will have a higher level of education and hopefully have a better future,” Valencia said. “Most of my family has had to work their whole lives, so they didn’t have much time to worry about school, which made them realize just how important my education will be in deciding how my life turns out.”
Although this is a special chance for Valencia and his family, there have been some difficulties with this new opportunity.
“Being the first in my family is great, but one negative aspect is the fact that I don’t really have anyone to talk to or someone to give me advice when I have some problems,” Valencia said.
But Valencia is overall very optimistic about the next four years, meeting new people, joining different clubs and having an exciting experience at GCU.
Although Gilbert Sanchez ’13 has yet to determine where he’ll be going next year, he shares a similar optimistic mindset.
“It means a lot to any kid obviously, it’s the beginning of the rest of your life in terms of career and your future,” Sanchez said. “College is a big deal to me and being the first to attend makes it all the more important.”
Even though he will be the first of his family to attend college, Sanchez never questioned whether he would attend or not.
“I have never imagined not getting a higher education,” Sanchez said. “And as I think about my own career and hopes for the future, I believe it is absolutely necessary to get me where I need and want to go.”
This moment has been an especially proud moment for these students’ parents, especially for the parents of future Gonzaga Bulldog Victor Ribikare ’13.
By attending college, Ribikare hopes to fulfill the dream his parents had when they moved to the United States from the Democratic Republic of Congo.
“Their dream was to give their children an education that will help them live better lives. This brings happiness to my parents,” Ribakare said.
“I am the future for my family,” Ribakare said. “I have to set a precedent for my siblings to follow.”
Being given the opportunity to be the first in his family to attend college has given Ribakare a sense of purpose for coming to the United States and going through all the schooling he did.
Besides “a lot of growing and learning,” Ribakare said he doesn’t quite know what to expect for the next four years.
“After all, I didn’t know what Brophy had in store for me freshman year,” Ribakare said.