The Garza Family
Three generations committed to education
Born: Lower Rio Grande Valley, Texas

When they started their family of nine in the 1930s, José María and Eva Garza decided to make college graduation a family expectation. Three generations and dozens of degrees later, higher education remains a priority.

“Peñitas [Texas] was this family’s heart. Every single Sunday, without fail, we were there. Grandmom Eva was the one who would always say ‘Make sure you go to school.’ Then she’d add, ‘Do you want some arroz con pollo (chicken and rice)?’”

Since the early 1900s, the Garza family has lived in and near the small farming community of Peñitas on the Texas-Mexico border. Raised by a father with an elementary school education, José María and his 12 siblings were all expected to get an education, an egalitarian attitude unusual among working-class Mexican Americans of that era. In contrast, Eva had to leave school at the age of 13 to work in the family grocery store. She later vowed that her children would get an education.

“Everybody was going to college, period. It was not a matter of choice. We made it because we worked hard, and we were very close. To come up with 31 college graduates, the number speaks for itself. And we're not stopping.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

The Garza Family, three generations committed to education. Photograph by Celia Alvarez Munoz, taken at a restaurant, Mission, Texas

The Garza Family, three generations committed to education. Photograph by Celia Alvarez Munoz, taken at a restaurant, Mission, Texas

Today, the family includes executives, educators, civil engineers, administrators, small business owners, a photojournalist, social worker, artist, and computer animator. A higher education is indeed a Garza family tradition.

“Growing up, our parents would say, ‘He who rises early, God will help.’ and ‘Always look forward and have a vision. See where you want to get to.' "

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

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