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
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.
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.”
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.
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.' "