Since she was 14, Alondra Monge has volunteered at local schools. The NAU Yuma student, who graduates this weekend with a bachelor’s degree in Spanish, picked schools specifically because she liked the educational environment and felt that was where she needed to be. Maybe it was her desire to be a teacher or her love of learning or the appreciation she had for the educational opportunities that were available to her.
Whatever the reason, she kept seeking out school, starting her collegiate career at Arizona Western College. She transferred to NAU because of her interest in the secondary education program; Monge has always dreamed of teaching high school Spanish. Since Yuma didn’t have a secondary education program, she majored in Spanish and kept looking for other ways to prepare to be a teacher.
She graduates this week with a degree in Spanish, still on the path to teaching high school. Her volunteer work has helped her prepare for that as well. For years, Ronge has volunteered through her martial arts school, speaking to younger students about joining martial arts and how they can change lives for the better—their own and other people’s. There’s a special focus on bullying. Participating in martial arts brought Monge discipline, she said.
“Martial arts taught me discipline, to be responsible, to be respectful and to always be willing to provide help for others, and those are things I will always bring with me wherever I go,” she said.
She also has spent years volunteering for her church and a retirement home, including spending weekends and holidays in Mexico, where she lived until she was 8. Her future is in the United States, but her roots are in Mexico, and she never wants to forget that.
“It does not matter if I do not live there anymore,” she said. “I want to be able to help people in ways that I am able to and never forget where I came from.”
Amalia Garzón, a clinical professor of Spanish at NAU-Yuma, has watched Monge progress in education and life through the years. She met Monge when both were at Arizona Western College, then got to know her better when Monge transferred to NAU and began studying in the Spanish bachelor’s degree program. She saw how much Monge valued both the educational opportunities given her and her first language and Hispanic culture, choosing to embrace both and doing so while earning Dean’s List recognitions and the NAU Jacks Transfer Award.
“What struck me most about Alondra was her dedication to her studies,” Garzón said. “She is just an outstanding student, very proficient in Spanish and very attached to her Mexican roots and her family.”
Monge is excited about the future.
“Graduating for me does not mean I am finished with everything,” she said. “It means I am a step closer to accomplishing my goals. Graduating reminds me that even at the hardest times when we set a goal for ourselves and we accomplish it, we acknowledge that nothing is impossible and that we are stronger than we think we are.”
Heidi Toth | NAU Communications
(928) 523-8737 | firstname.lastname@example.org