Immigrant Who Worked at Salinas Farms for 18 Years Graduates From College With Honors

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A former farmworker from Salinas took one step closer toward his dream of becoming a teacher after graduating from college in May.

Adolfo Gonzalez, 58, received his degree in Spanish with honors at the California State University, Monterey Bay on May 18, the Salinas Californian reported.

Adolfo Gonzalez, bottom row on the right, poses with his class for a photo. (Credit: Gus Leonard, courtesy of California State University, San Marcos)
Adolfo Gonzalez, bottom row on the right, poses with his class for a photo. (Credit: Gus Leonard, courtesy of California State University, San Marcos)

Gonzalez crossed the U.S.-Mexico border near San Diego in 1986, the publication said. He lived in the state without legal status for years before marrying his wife in 1992 and eventually gaining citizenship through her.

“I took the decision to come to the United States like everybody does, because it’s the only way we can support our family,” Gonzalez told the Californian.

He made a living harvesting celery in Salinas for 18 years, taking English classes and earning a GED diploma at a local adult school, the publication said. He subsequently attended a community college and transferred to CSUMB with a 3.85 GPA, according to the university.

While attending college, he received a Service Learning Award for returning to the adult school where he earned his GED to help other students with literacy and communication skills.

Adolfo told the university that he hoped to pursue a teaching credential “so that he can make impactful contributions to learners of all abilities in Monterey County,” CSUMB said.

“He’s such an inspiration to the students because they see themselves. … It’s kind of like the American dream we want to believe in,” instructor Robert Paden told the Californian.

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