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Maria Flores-Gasca

Tempe, AZ – Maria Flores-Gasca is planning on pursuing her passion of teaching special needs children after she graduates from Arizona State University (ASU).

Maria explains, “Teaching, mostly everyone that does it, does it for a passion. Those kids grab your heart and it doesn’t matter what they do; it can be a simple ‘hello Miss Flores’ from across the school and that’s what make you want to help them learn more, and teach them what they need to know.”

Maria, age 21, was born and raised in Tempe and graduated from McClintock High School. She’s pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Education with a focus on Early Childhood and Early Childhood Special Education at ASU.

Maria’s extensive training in education will provide her with several career options, “I’m going towards special education preschool, or just preschool and first grade. Since I will have a dual certification, I will be able to work in either field; special education or general ed.”

Maria is among more than eleven-hundred students in Arizona who have worked hard and earned a scholarship from College Success Arizona. It provides up to six-thousand dollars per year for educational expenses, “It’s definitely one of the biggest scholarships that I’ve gotten in all of the scholarships that I have. Overall, the program has been wonderful. They’ve provided so many workshops and they have so many opportunities. College Success was able to help with expenses and I’m going to end up graduating with no loans.”

College Success Arizona also provides its student with specialized mentoring services through Success Advisers. Maria says her success adviser, Barbra Scrivner, has provided a ton of support, “She’s been amazing. I’m actually lucky to have people among my mentors who have been teachers. So, having Barbra (a former teacher) – she has helped me relieve some stress and find some other things to do as I get through college. She’s been there for personal support 24-seven, and I’m able to access her by email and she’ll respond back quickly, so I’m really lucky to have Barbra.”

Oftentimes, parents can be a guiding force and source of inspiration for their children to attend college. Maria says her mom and dad have been very encouraging, “They definitely were there every step of the way; coming to meetings, different workshops, so that they were able to help me to achieve my goal of going to college.”

Maria has some advice for middle and high school students considering college:

“It’s never too early to start looking and seeking those opportunities, and options, that they might want to have. It’s never too early to start looking for scholarships, applying for scholarships, and it’s never too early to choose a career. So, I say just have fun and explore options for college, and then get involved.”

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