Native Spanish-speaker hopes to inspire others with her story

Carolina Astrain By Carolina Astrain

May 21, 2014 at 12:21 a.m.
Updated May 22, 2014 at 12:22 a.m.

Although she may struggle in delivering her message at first, Alma Medrano is confident about getting her point across.

"Sometimes, I have to take detours," said Medrano, whose first language is Spanish. "But I'll make it happen."

Medrano, a Victoria resident originally from Monterrey, Mexico, was one of four "What's Your Story?" scholarship recipients who spoke Wednesday at the Victoria College Foundation Donor Breakfast.

Each of the scholarship winners - Medrano, Omar Ramos, Hayde Renteria and Hannah Jaschke - was awarded $1,000 to go toward continuing their education at Victoria College.

The Victoria College Foundation awards $350,000 in scholarships to students each year, said Amy Mundy, executive director of the foundation.

For the first time this year, the "What's Your Story?" scholarship competition was extended to adult education, workforce and industry and transfer students, Mundy said.

"We wanted to give all students the opportunity to apply," Mundy said.

The video category won by Ramos was also another new addition to the scholarship program.

Medrano, who was awarded a scholarship to continue her studies as an aspiring registered nurse, said she decided to return to school after hearing her daughters disregard the value of education.

Through the Victoria school district's GED program, Medrano earned her high school diploma equivalency.

In 2010, Medrano enrolled in Victoria College and was accepted into the nursing program two years later.

It was at Victoria College that Medrano realized she had a strong Spanish accent after a professor made note of her writing skills.

"Until I recorded myself, I didn't think I did," Medrano said. "I felt inadequate and humiliated at the same time."

However, Medrano said she did not let her noticeable accent discourage her.

This spring, Medrano earned her associate degree in nursing and was recently hired by Warm Springs Specialty Hospital in Victoria.

"Victoria College has brought meaning to my life," Medrano said. "My goal is to inspire other women like me with families who may think it can't be done."

Both of her daughters are working toward their undergraduate degrees.

"Those individuals and their families deserve a better lifestyle," Medrano, 39, said. "And they should be setting a good example for their children."



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