By Troy Wilde
September 22, 201 6
Phoenix, AZ – Itzel Garcia enjoyed playing teacher when she was in grade school. Now, the 21-year-old Arizona State University student is nearing completion of her lifelong dream of becoming an educator.
“When I was little I always liked going to school and playing teacher, but then in high school I changed my mind and wanted to do nursing. But by the end of my senior year, I decided that I really wanted to teach and work with younger kids, so that’s why I chose early childhood education.”
Itzel graduated from Coronado High School in Scottsdale, and is pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood and Early Childhood Special Education at ASU.
Itzel is gaining valuable classroom experience as a student teacher, which she says is a mixture of joy and challenge, “It’s not always easy and there can be some hard times, because right now I’m still getting used to certain things like behavior management. Some days I come home and I’m tired because I couldn’t control the students, but I learn how to get through it – and it’s all really a learning process, and teaching is my passion.”
Itzel is among the many hard-working students who have earned a scholarship from College Success Arizona, which provides up to six-thousand dollars per year for educational expenses. Itzel says the money has been a huge help, “It has really helped me in school because I haven’t gotten any loans and I haven’t had to pay out of pocket. My goal in high school was to get scholarships for college and not have to take out any loans, so the scholarship from College Success has allowed me to focus on school without having to worry about money.”
Students such as Itzel, also receive specialized mentoring services from Success Advisers, who help guide them through academic and personal challenges. Itzel says she feels fortunate that her success adviser, Barbra Scrivner, has worked in the classroom, “I really like how she used to be a second grade teacher and was in education too – so, she understands what I’m going through right now. Barbra is very helpful in talking about challenges I have in college, and giving me good advice – and she helps me to de-stress.”
Itzel also credits her success in college to her parents, “They’ve always encouraged me to further my education, and work hard in school, so that I can have access to more opportunities than they did after moving to the U.S. from Mexico.”
Itzel has some advice for middle and high school students who may be considering college, “Do what you want to do, and do something that you really like. I would also encourage students to always try your best because that is really going to help in the long run. I know for me, that I’m doing something that I really like, and I’m excited about what’s coming next.”