Associate in Arts
Yakima Valley College has a long history of helping shape the lives of students throughout the Yakima Valley. Many first-generation students, like Casondra Macias, have taken adult basic education courses before transitioning to college-level courses, using the college’s career readiness courses as a springboard to future success.
Macias was born and raised in Yakima, Wash. Her life changed forever when she became pregnant at the age of 14. The young mother struggled to provide for her son and secure consistent housing. Needing to work and pay bills rather than focus on her education, she ended up dropping out of high school.
She eventually began working as a baker at a local Safeway. As the years went by she got married and welcomed three more children. In 2018 she made the decision to return to school and pursue her GED. A tenacious student, Macias celebrated her successes and refused to give up when faced with challenges.
“I worked so hard to obtain my GED,” stated Macias. “I went week after week to take each exam for the GED. When I failed one test, I didn’t give up! I would go home, study, and then go back the next week ready to retake the test. It felt great when I was able to pass the test I had just failed the week before.”
After earning her GED she chose to quit her job so she could transition to college-level courses and focus solely on her studies. After attending her first quarter, she faced yet another challenge when her mother was injured. Needing to help care for her mother placed yet another hurdle in front of Macias, but she persevered and successfully completed 20 credits.
With the help of staff at YVC, Macias learned about multiple grants and scholarship opportunities. She shares, “I applied for every scholarship I qualified for. I was awarded four scholarships while attending YVC. These helped pay for supplies, gas, food and helped offset the cost of some living expenses. With these financial burdens out of my way I was able to become fully dedicated to my studies!”
She recently completed her associate in arts degree, as well as her prerequisites for YVC’s Radiologic Sciences program, which she plans to start in summer 2021. Ultimately, she hopes to work as a radiologic technician in the Yakima Valley and help inspire others to pursue their dreams.
“All my life I have struggled,” stated Macias. “I have been homeless, a teen mom, a high school dropout, a stay at home mom, a wife. Worst of all I had been alone, with no one. I have proven time and time again no matter how hard things may get, only you can change things.”