Ms. Erica Lua-Alonzo
Student Commencement Speaker
Yakima Valley College is pleased to have graduate Erica Lua-Alonzo deliver the student commencement speech for the class of 2018. Lua-Alonzo has completed her associate of applied science degree in bilingual administrative office assistant.
Lua-Alonzo was born in the Yakima Valley and graduated from Davis High School in 2004. Following high school, she worked a series of jobs in banking, fast food, and as a legal assistant at a law firm. After the birth of her children, Erica made the decision to be a stay-at-home mom. “I loved my time as at stay-at-home mom, but I missed working. I knew that for my and my family’s future I wanted more,” stated Lua-Alonzo. In the spring of 2016, she took the leap and enrolled at Yakima Valley College pursing a degree from the Business Technology program.
“There has been so much that I’ve liked about YVC and the Business Technology program. There is so much diversity on campus, which has helped me grow. When I first returned to school, I did not think I would be able to do it. Here at YVC I have been pushed to my limits to do better in class and instructors have expected more of me that I expected of myself. I’ve had the opportunity to meet new people and have new adventures. As someone who wasn’t able to
travel or relocate for school, YVC has been an ideal fit for me and my family,” she stated.
Pushed to succeed, she credits some of her success on the support and leadership of her instructors. “Susan Klaus was a big influence for me. She never let me settle for the minimum, it was never enough. If I turned in an assignment that wasn’t my best work, she would ask me if this was really me, which always pushed me to do better,” she continued. Her hard work has paid off with several appearances on the president’s and dean’s list.
On campus, she worked as a work-study student in YVC’s Athletic program, helping out in the fitness center and during athletic contests. Off-campus she was recently hired to work at the East Valley School District. She also volunteers as treasurer for her son’s soccer team and assists the coach during fundraising events.
Following YVC she plans to continue her career as a Special Programs Administrative Assistant and District Translator with the East Valley School District. One day she hopes to return to school to pursue a degree in teacher education.
In her commencement address, Lua-Alonzo extends her hope for the future to YVC’s graduating class of 2018. “To my fellow graduates, now you know every late night, every tear, every assignment, every exam, every moment of this journey was worth it,” she writes. “You now have something so many dream of. My wish for you is to find even the simple things in life rewarding. In moments of your struggles remember that if you can accomplish college, you can accomplish anything.”
In her free time Erica enjoys the company of her husband Jose, and three children Azelynn, Annaliah, and Jose. The close family enjoys cooking, gardening, watching movies, and are avid soccer fans.