This weekend countless college students around the US were finally able to celebrate the end to yet another long and challenging school year.
While each student had their own story to share, perhaps none was as special as the the Galarzas who graduated as part of the Class of 2021 from SUNY Buffalo State College.
The Galarzas are father and daughter, and they both graduated with honors.
Their family moved to New York from Puerto Rico in 2008, and at the time Cesar Galarza, 41, didn’t know any English. He took a job as a welder and had to learn the language.
But eventually he figured out his passion and that was helping others, so when he decided he wanted to go to school earn a bachelor’s degree in social work, he chose the same school as his daughter.
“’I’m like — ‘oh you’re coming to the same college’ and then we realized how fun it was,” his daughter, Clairmar, who was studying art education, said.
While attending school with your father might not be everyone’s cup of tea, Clairmar said it was an opportunity for the two to learn from each other.
“I got to see how he studied and how his mind works and I’m just super proud that we both we able to make it with all these honors.”
And Cesar hopes that those who want to go back to school, but are nervous because they’re older or they have a language barrier, see what he was able to accomplish.
“I’m a living example that you can come late to school – you can have language barriers and if you try – and you put all your effort and you really want it that you can do it,” he said.
Both plan to continue their education. Cesar will continue working towards earning a graduate degree in social work, while Clairmar will work towards a masters degree in education.
This past weekend they both participated in the school’s “stage walk” event, which allowed students to pose for photos. They also participated in a virtual graduation ceremony.
Congratulations Cesar and Clairmar! You are both an inspiration!
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