For a student to become a WAEF student they need to be pretty outstanding. Our selection volunteers review hundreds of applications from highly worthwhile applicants. They are looking for those students with the drive to make the most of the opportunity tree fruit industry donors are creating.
Jesus and Gabriela Ramirez are two individuals that quickly surfaced to the top based solely on their unique attributes; they became extra special to us because they are a young married couple working to support their family while attending college. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, we want to share their special story with you.
Gabriela "Gabby" provided the following comments on behalf of her and Jesus.
Please share about your journey of the last five years, school, family and work.
Five years ago I was attending Big Bend Community College while working a part time job. I was a full-time student during the day and worked in the afternoons. I graduated from BBCC with my AA transfer diploma in 2013 and then made the choice to enroll at Central Washington University the following year. Jesus at the time was focused on working and providing for our family, including our one-year-old daughter, Bella. We were living in Moses Lake and he drove 45 minutes to work every morning. He would get up at 5am and get back home at 5 or 6pm.
In 2014 I moved to Ellensburg with Bella (then three). It was a tough decision for my husband and me, but it was a sacrifice we had to make for a better tomorrow. This transition hit our daughter the most. She was only able to see Jesus on weekends or when we had time off from school. We tried our best to explain to Bella that the change was only temporary while I was at school. As for Jesus and I, we kept our goals in mind and our key to success was having strong communication and trust.
Jesus at this time was also considering going back to college. He was confident in his abilities to manage becoming a full time student and working at the same time. He enrolled at Wenatchee Community College and will be graduating soon with his AA in agriculture.
We recently had our second child, Damian Ramirez. In anticipation of his arrival I attended summer school, currently taking one online class and will return to campus in the winter to graduate from college this spring."
What are your career paths? How did you choose them? How do you see higher education supporting those paths?
Jesus' career paths involve him succeeding in the agricultural industry. Jesus developed a passion for agricultural when he started working during his high school years. He knew getting a career in something he loved was only going to make his job a whole lot easier. Support from his employer, Washington Fruit & Produce, and supervisors helped him decide to go back to school and finish something he had started. He sees higher education supporting his career paths because it has opened up new doors and is creating better opportunities for him.
My career path is to become a successful teacher and give children a great education. It was tough choosing my career because I was undecided while attending community college. I went from nursing to social work and finally made up my mind to become a teacher. I knew deep inside me I wanted to work with children and have a job that would allow me to spend time with my family. Higher education is supporting my path because it is allowing me to do something I love. A teacher must have knowledge and experience to be considered for a job position. My time here at CWU has prepared for what is to come.
What are your goals for the future?
Our future goals as a couple are to graduate from college and finally start a new chapter in our lives. Jesus hopes to be placed at a higher position at his work with Washington Fruit & Produce Company and share the knowledge he has gained. I would love to teach at a dual language school if possible and put my skills to work. Lastly we want to find a stable home for our children and become more financially stable.
What are your hopes for your children? How are your choices now influencing your hopes for your children?
Our hopes for our two children are for them to look at us as positive role models. We want them to always look at the bright side to every situation they may face in life. By them seeing us achieve our lifetime goals, we want them to know there is no impossible when you set your mind to something. We hope our children look back and see everything we have done in order to provide a better life for them.
What kinds of support do you have that help you keep your family moving in the right way while you're both so busy?
We support one another while trying to reach our goals. We try our best to make time for school and our children. It isn't easy all the time, but we help one another when we need it. We are truly blessed to have the support of our parents, employer and professors. They are always willing to help with what they can.
How have WAEF and Washington Fruit scholarship funding helped you?
WAEF and the Washington Fruit Scholarship funding have been a major help for us. WAEF has allowed us to take a huge amount of weight off of our shoulders by helping us get through school. We don't have to worry about missing tuition deadlines and not be able to pay for our education. We can focus more on our schoolwork and earn good grades by knowing we have their support throughout our journey. It isn't just about the money that WAEF and the scholarship provide for us- they are also a great part of our support system. We love receiving emails from WAEF staff to let us know they are there to help or listen to any concerns we have. The care packages we receive are also a reminder of the volunteers who believe in us and know we can succeed in life. Being part of the WAEF community has been a valuable experience and we hope to remain in touch with them even after we graduate.
Thank you WAEF for everything you have done for - you have made a huge impact on our lives.
We feel so fortunate to get to be part of our students' lives. They each have such impressive stories, dreams and hopes for the future.
THANK YOU for making WAEF and foundation's impact possible.