Jair Juarez, former student now at WSU-Vancouver

Jair JuarezJair Juarez, a 2010 Centralia College graduate from Rochester, was an active participant in the Latino Youth Summit. He earned his way onto the prestigious All-Washington Team last year and is currently a junior at Washington State University-Vancouver.

Jair Juarez was encouraged to come to Centralia College by his parents and by members of the Latinos Unidos Club. With support from faculty and staff, he enrolled and found a great deal of success. He was able to take on leadership roles, help others, and share his experiences with others. Centralia College opened many doors of opportunity for Jair. Here is a part of his story about his time at Centralia College.

Why did you go onto college?
As far back as I can remember, my mom has always told my siblings and me that the three most important things in life are “education, education, education.” Although I always had my parent’s encouragement growing up, their advice didn’t truly start to sink in until my junior and senior years of high school.

During my senior year, I finally started taking my classes more seriously and began researching my options for going to college. I met with my high school counselor and found out that I was eligible to apply for a Centralia College scholarship. I believe that receiving this scholarship later that year was the defining point for me because I really did not expect to get any scholarships. My grades weren’t bad, but they weren’t great either.

Receiving this scholarship helped inspire me to try harder the upcoming year so that I could receive more scholarships to pay for school. Most importantly, it gave me the confidence in myself that I could go to college and be successful.

What are some of the benefits of a college education?
There are so many benefits to a college education. First of all, having a college degree increases your opportunities to find a career in a field that you are passionate about. In addition to this, as you continue advancing in your education, your chances of earning higher wages and benefits tend to increase. Overall, going to college is a really great experience because you get to meet so many new people. You also have many opportunities to get involved in campus clubs, activities and events. These activities often provide students with a chance to get more involved in their communities and build strong networks with people from around the state.

How were you helped in your education at Centralia College?
During my time at Centralia College I was very fortunate to have had tremendous support from several teachers, staff, and advisors. One of my mentors, Judith Aguilar, helped me tremendously in applying for scholarships and helped me transition to WSU-Vancouver. In the Student Support Services office, I often met with Liisa Taylor to learn about some of the resources available to first generation college students. Liisa is one of the most amazing individuals that I’ve met, and was one of the main people that helped me make the transition from high school.

What are your goals in life?
I’m currently a junior at Washington State University-Vancouver. One of my main goals is to graduate with my Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sociology next year. After that I want to continue my education by pursuing my Masters in Education Degree at the University of Washington, Seattle. In the future, I hope to one day work for TRiO programs at a college or university, so that I can help motivate students to stay in school and to go to college. I’m very passionate about working in this type of career field, because the work you do directly helps improve the lives of many students.

Overall, how has Centralia College helped you as you work toward your educational goals?
I am really glad that I made the decision to attend Centralia College after high school because it helped me tremendously in preparing for the courses that I am now taking at WSU-Vancouver. One of my most memorable classes at Centralia College was Dr. Weil’s English 102 course. Although it was very challenging, this class proved to be one of the best courses that I’ve taken because it helped me develop a wide variety of skills. This course not only helped me learn better ways of studying, researching, and writing, but it also encouraged me to stand up for issues that I believe in.

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