Class of 2023 Graduate Highlight: Daisy Gonzalez
Aiken Technical College graduate Daisy Gonzalez and soon to be Harvard student, graduated college before earning her high school diploma.
Gonzalez was dually enrolled as a student at Midland Valley High School and an Associate in Arts and Associate in Science student at Aiken Tech. She started the program during the COVID-19 pandemic in May 2020.
“Aiken Technical College offers a great learning environment. I have thoroughly enjoyed my last few years here, contributing to my personal and academic development,” Gonzalez said.
Although some may have told her she was wasting her time earning a college degree while in high school while bragging about their free schedules, she is happy about the decision she made.
“Never let other’s opinions damage your dreams,” Gonzalez said.
“And while at times it hurt to be left out from some of my close friends, I knew what I wanted from life. I knew in order to do so, I would have to sacrifice social events among other things.”
Gonzalez explained through patience and a good schedule, she was still able to make time for important and fun activities. A major event Gonzalez was recognized in is Aiken Technical College’s annual Awards Night.
The Outstanding Student of the Year Award for Associate in Arts was awarded to Gonzalez that night. She was shocked, and as the award was being presented, she felt like she was in a montage. Gonzalez said her parents were so happy that night and she will never forget their smiles.
“My determination to do my very best drove me here. My parents were so proud. Never in their life did they expect to have a daughter so academically driven. Sometimes, they got annoyed because of how much homework I had, but at that moment, they understood where my efforts took me,” Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez said her parents kept her motivated during her journey at the college. She said she is grateful for their sacrifices in leaving their home country, families, and lives behind for her and her siblings. Gonzalez added her parents listened to her and encouraged her whenever her classes were challenging.
“That’s all they wanted was my best, nothing more. But I have always felt a sort of debt to them for what they gave me. Therefore, I strive for perfection because they deserve nothing less,” Gonzalez said.
This fall, she is headed to Harvard University to major in sociology. She hopes to learn more about our society and, more specifically, the flow of immigrants.
Gonzalez’s parents greatly influenced her career goal because they immigrated to the United States. She watched them struggle in an unfamiliar country from a young age, and their story inspired her.
“My parents had to give up their education and work to help support their families to ensure their children wouldn’t have to do the same; they immigrated to this country. I believe this is a right every person should have. Therefore, I have chosen to become an immigration lawyer,” Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez hopes to ease the process of anyone who finds themselves in the same situation her parents went through. She understands the burden of making a vast decision such as that one.
Now, more than ever, Gonzalez is prepared to go to Harvard from the sacrifices and determination that drove her to this point.
“The classes have been challenging, but nothing I couldn’t accomplish once I put my mind to it,” Gonzalez said. “Some of the best teachers I have had are from Aiken Tech. I am prepared for the next four years of college because of Aiken Tech.”