coronavirus pandemic

Siblings Become First-Generation College Graduates Amid Pandemic

Together they became the first in their family to graduate from college, sharing a message of inspiration to young people

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After many years, two siblings managed to become the first college graduates in their family amid the pandemic.

This dream was almost impossible as they both had different life obstacles that nearly cost them their future.

"I am very proud to have achieved this goal. I'm going to start the master's program that's going to take me about two years, and my goal is to become a social worker," said Oscar De León, 37, who managed to earn his bachelor's degree in Sociology after 15 years from Cal State San Marcos.

The road was not easy.

Oscar De León was forced to leave school because of complications from diabetes, which affected his kidneys.

"Unfortunately, six years ago, they lost their function, and I'm on a waitlist for a transplant," Oscar De León said.

Instead of a stage at the university, the celebration was held in the living room of their home because of the pandemic. The party was twofold, as his sister, Yesenia De León, also managed to graduate with a bachelor's degree in Biomanufacturing from MiraCosta College.

"I want to help people who have diseases," Yesenia De León said.

Together they became the first in their family to graduate from college, sharing a message of inspiration to young people.

"Don't give up, if you have a goal and don't achieve in a year or two, don't give up, because if they give themselves the opportunity, they can make their dreams come true," Yesenia De León said.

Oscar De León continues to wait for a kidney transplant, but despite adversity and the pandemic, these siblings continue to meet their goals.

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