maintain your promise Texas Tech At present

After her mother and father flee the war-torn nation to make a greater life for his or her youngsters, Amanda Castro units out to change into a first-generation faculty graduate.

Amanda Castro misplaced her mom in 2012, however she’s going to earn a university diploma earlier than promising her.

A local Californian, Castro attended group faculty in Lengthy Seaside and labored as a bartender on the native Hilton resort. However sooner or later his life was turned the wrong way up when a sailor in uniform got here to the resort.

“A unit of sailors from the US Naval Base in San Diego was despatched on a mission to Lengthy Seaside,” Castro stated. “Victor wanted to be near the ship, so he spent most of his time on the resort.”

Castro and his household

The 2 hung out speaking and sharing their fast wit and penchant for dry humour.

“We grew to become obsessive about one another,” Castro stated. “We wished to proceed seeing one another, so Victor drove from San Diego to Lengthy Seaside, just about day by day simply to see me.”

It wasn’t lengthy earlier than the couple knew they had been meant to be collectively. After getting married, Castro determined to maneuver to San Diego, forsaking his life in Lengthy Seaside. Though Victor was prepared to maneuver, she did not need to put that burden on him.

Castro discovered a brand new group faculty in San Diego however managing each work and lessons grew to become a problem when the couple welcomed their first baby in 2010. Abruptly, Castro was at house along with her new child son and her husband on a 7-month deployment. Even after this, she stored going to class.

“After I received pregnant with my second baby, I noticed I could not maintain that tempo.”

Castro had determined to drop out of faculty on the time, however she knew she would finally end what she had began.

“An important factor to me is my youngsters,” Castro stated. “I used to be not succeeding in any of my roles as a result of I used to be doing an excessive amount of. I wished my youngsters to see a greater model of me.”

Whereas touring across the nation for Victor’s job, Castro and her husband had two extra youngsters. Not like different branches of the navy the place one could be stationed at one location for a number of years, the Navy transfers its workers each three years.

a expensive sacrifice

Throughout this time, Castro suffered a loss that shifted his priorities.


“I’m Cambodian and my mother and father got here to America in 1980 after fleeing dictatorship,” Castro stated. “On account of that point, my mom was very ailing.

“My mother and father went via a really painful ordeal after they got here to America,” Castro stated.

Within the late Seventies, Cambodia was terrorized by the Khmer Rouge regime. Its chief, Pol Pot, was a Marxist dictator who sought to create a “grasp race” of the Cambodians and killed greater than 2 million folks within the course of.

“My father served within the Cambodian Royal Military as much as the Khmer Rouge,” Castro stated. “When he realized that he and his household wouldn’t be spared, he rapidly made a plan to flee.”

Between them, Castro’s mother and father had 9 youngsters on the time and their tenth baby was pregnant.

“A few of my siblings had been older and already unbiased and my mother and father could not discover them,” Castro stated.

Her mother and father had been confronted with a gut-wrenching alternative to remain and proceed trying to find all 9 youngsters or guarantee their security of their care, together with their unborn baby.

He finally fled to Thailand in 1979 and sought asylum earlier than coming to California a yr later. As soon as in California, Castro’s mother and father had two extra youngsters – Castro and his older sister. He was additionally raised alongside his brother, who was born in Thailand.

Chet Sanyo
Chet Sanyo

“After every thing my mother and father did for me and my siblings, I wished to make them proud,” Castro stated.

Castro had all the time envisioned his mother and father seeing him graduate faculty. That dream was slipping away now.

Castro’s mom was blind and paralyzed for greater than half of her physique and was affected by problems as a result of diabetes. She by no means received to see Victor or his grandchildren. However she used to carry his hand and hearken to his voice

“Lastly, she misplaced her battle with diabetes in 2012,” Castro stated. “Earlier than he handed away, I promised him that I’d end faculty and earn my bachelor’s diploma. It was essential to each of us; a approach to honor the sacrifices my mother and father made.”


In 2016, the household discovered itself in Oklahoma. Decided to advance in his schooling, Castro discovered some distinction in taking programs. In Might 2019, Castro earned an affiliate diploma from Oklahoma Metropolis Group School.

“I used to be excited to earn my associates in pre-education, however my final aim was nonetheless to graduate,” Castro stated.

Castro started to look to universities that might give him the flexibleness he wanted. However round that point, the household was knowledgeable that they might be transferred to Lackland Air Power Base in San Antonio, Texas.

“We had been supposed to maneuver in April of 2020, however I used to be frightened in regards to the youngsters getting kicked out of faculty earlier than the tip of their yr.”

So as a substitute, the couple determined to depart early.

“We spent 2019 Christmas break going to Texas,” Castro stated. “That method our children can begin college at first of a brand new semester.”

As soon as they settled, Castro started his choices for larger schooling in Texas.

“I personally love attending lessons, however with Victor’s schedule and 4 youngsters, I knew it was unrealistic,” Castro stated. “Then COVID-19 grew to become an element, so I began diploma packages completely on-line.

“Whereas many individuals assumed I’d select the College of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) or Texas A&M, I wished to maintain my choices open. After a lot analysis, Texas Tech College was my primary alternative. I Very impressed with their excessive commencement price and emphasis on range.

“I hoped I had an excellent likelihood of being accepted, however I used to be nervous,” Castro stated. “I actually wished to go to Texas Tech.”

a brand new focus

Castro waited anxiously for his acceptance letter.

“There was loads driving on that letter,” Castro stated. “I wished to maintain the promise I made to my mom, and I wished to show to myself that I may accomplish what I began a decade in the past.”

To not point out, Texas Tech was one of many few on-line choices. Castro wanted to just accept after which full his diploma inside three years earlier than his household may relocate.

“It was laborious ready to be heard. It was a psychological sport. I attempted to maintain my confidence and belief that God had a plan.”

She vividly remembers the day her acceptance letter arrived within the mail.

“For somebody who would not get emotional typically, it was a really emotional expertise,” Castro recalled.

Castro grew to become a raid raider within the fall of 2020. When she began lessons, she was envisioning changing into a math trainer.

“I’ve all the time been good at math and educating, so I assumed I might mix these two,” Castro stated. “I used to be additionally good with youngsters, as there was anticipated to be 4 of them. So, I pieced collectively this profession plan that I assumed was good. However I hadn’t explored some other choices.”

Ashley Brown, director of mentoring and retention for the School of Human Sciences on the time, instructed Castro that there was one other diploma plan that could be an ideal match for her.

“She instructed me a few Bachelor of Science in Anthropology that might permit me to customise my very own diploma plan with three areas,” Castro stated.

And the most effective half is that it was supplied fully on-line.

Castro centered on three areas: anthropology, human improvement and household science, and psychology—which she thought she would possibly examine.

“Once we moved to Texas, our son started to battle socially at school,” Castro stated. “We imagine that frequent strolling isn’t the norm for youngsters, particularly as they’re getting older. Our son is simply 12 years previous and we’re in new territory with him.

“She was bullied at school and had suicidal ideas. As a mum or dad, it is actually scary.”

Castro imagines that that is one thing many households in navy battle with, however don’t all the time voice.

“The lives we dwell have some fantastic advantages,” Castro stated. “However we all know that our existence additionally lack stability, and that is unlucky for our kids.”

Victor will retire in 4 years, giving his household extra freedom to take root.

“However till that point, we’ve got to determine the best way to assist our children succeed,” Castro stated. “It was round this time that I grew to become serious about including that psychology focus to my diploma. Not solely do I’ve a ardour for serving to my son, however I additionally discovered growing psychological well being assets for youngsters and households in our armed forces. is far wanted.

“I would not have imagined taking this path to a bachelor’s diploma,” Castro stated. “However I admire the folks at Texas Tech who helped me envision extra prospects. Now I really feel like I am doing what I’ve to do.”

a promise fulfilled

At present Castro will fulfill his promise to his mom after graduating from Texas Tech.

Amanda as a child

Not solely is she a first-generation faculty graduate, she was additionally part of the primary Asian Pacific Islander Indigenous Arab (APIDA) convocation at Texas Tech and would be the banner bearer of the School of Human Sciences on the ceremony.

Castro has opened new territory not just for his household but additionally for himself.

“I’m now planning to pursue a grasp’s diploma in counseling,” Castro stated. “I’ve stored my promise to my mom, now I’ll maintain my promise to my son and different youngsters like him.”

As excited as Castro is in regards to the begin of the ceremony, there’s additionally a little bit of bitterness in regards to the occasion.

“I want my mother was right here to see me graduate this weekend, however fortunately my dad continues to be with us, and he’ll be livestreaming the ceremony from California.”

Castro’s father, Chet Saini, could not be extra proud to see his daughter graduate from faculty.

“My daughter is a really robust individual,” stated Saini. “When she units her thoughts to one thing, she follows it. I got here to America so my household will get these alternatives. I am so completely satisfied to see Amanda taking advantage of it.”

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