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A Five-Year Journey Ends at Commencement for Yesenia Haro

The Cañada College employee earns her Associate’s Degree in Human Services

Yesenia Haro
After five years of studying, one class a semester, Cañada College employee Yesenia Haro was able to walk across the stage at this year’s commencement ceremony and accept her Associate’s Degree in Human Services. Not only did she fulfill a life-long goal, but she graduated Magna Cum Laude.
Haro came to California when she was 13-years-old and graduated from Half Moon Bay High School. English was her second language, so school was difficult. After high school, she joined the workforce to help her parents financially. In 2007, Haro began working for the college at the Coastside Center in Half Moon Bay, where she was in charge of admissions, financial aid, placement testing, and outreach.
It was there that she set her mind to earning her college degree. In 2008, Haro returned to school, taking the Career 401 College Success course at Cañada. “That class motivated me and my family,” she said. “After that class, I set a goal to finish my degree in human services.”
Haro joined the Welcome Center at Cañada in 2010 following the closure of the Coastside Center. She would work at the college during the day, and go to school at night. “I remember getting out of class at 9:30 or 10 at night and getting back to Half Moon Bay to pick up my four children from my mother’s or sister’s house and not getting the kids to bed before 10:30. Some nights I would have to stay up until 1 in the morning to do homework. Getting the kids up for school the next morning was a challenge.”
Haro’s husband worked the night shift but always supported her decision to pursue her degree, even if he wasn’t available in the evenings to help take care of the children. “It was a big sacrifice for me and my family, but I had a goal in my mind and I knew that education was the key to my success so I pursued my goal,” she said.
While she enjoyed all of her classes at Cañada, Haro said she really enjoyed her English 100 class, because, for the first time in her life, she was able to finish reading two books from beginning to end. “I mean two grown up novels, because I only read kid books to my children. Because of this class, I am reading more now.”
Haro said her reading and writing skills have dramatically improved because of the skills learned in her classes at Cañada
While completing a two-year degree may not seem like a big deal to some people, Haro said it’s a really big deal in her family. Her husband and four kids joined the huge crowd at this year’s ceremony, anxiously awaiting her trip across the stage.  “My five-year-old daughter, Camilla, said ‘mom, you pass your ABC’s?’  I started laughing. My oldest son, Alberto, who is 15, was my personal photographer at commencement and my daughters Samantha and Juliana were cheering for me.”
While she has achieved her goal of earning her associate’s degree, Haro has more to accomplish. “I want to earn my Bachelor’s Degree in Human Services,” she said. “I will take a break because my kids are growing too fast and I want to spend more time with them, but I will keep my goal in mind and I will complete my second degree."

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