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Graduate Essays - Lisbeth Castillo: ECC taught me to embrace challenges at opportunities to grow

Graduation Cap

A few ECC graduates share what this achievement means to them

Tags: Accomplishment | Commencement | Graduation Essays | Student Profile
Published 12/11/2020
December 2020 Graduate Lisbeth Castillo.

December 2020 Graduate Lisbeth Castillo.

Experiencing culture shock and learning English as an immigrant moving from Guatemala at age 14 significantly impacted my life. Then, as a first-generation college student, not only did I have to learn how college worked, I also had to translate and educate my parents on the process. Elgin Community College's welcoming environment made this transition smoother.

My ECC journey began in high school when I joined Ballet Folklorico Huehuecoyotl. As a first-year student, I became active in student organizations like Phi Theta Kappa and the Organization of Latin American Students. I also joined TRiO, a program for traditionally underrepresented students, which provided me with the support and encouragement I needed to stay focused. In addition to being a student, I worked as a CNA. Being a front-line worker, working over 50 hours per week, and going to school was difficult, but if I was able to, I'm sure others can too!

My involvement at ECC and work/school balance helped me become a well-rounded leader. I learned to embrace the challenges faced as opportunities for growth. These experiences made me who I am today: A proud Latina immigrant, First Generation Student, and College Graduate!

Graduation itself is succeeding against the odds. Education is invaluable; it opens doors to a better future. My ECC education can't be bought nor stolen. I will forever be grateful to those that guided me and helped turn a dream into reality.


– Lisbeth Castillo, South Elgin
   Associate in Science
   Licensed Emergency Medical Technician


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