El Paso, TX (KDBC) — Thousands of college graduates at UTEP turned their tassles today at three different commencement ceremonies.
According to the University, a record-breaking number of students earned a degree this year -- 2300 UTEP men and women walked at the Don Haskins Center.
"It's very hard but it's not impossible. If you have a dream, you have to follow it," said Erika Castaño.
Thirty-eight year old Castaño reached a milestone today.
A wife and mother of two, Erika got a second chance in school. She graduated from UTEP with a 4.0 GPA in Bilingual Education.
She wants to be a school teacher because she says her purpose in life is to serve.
"I love children. Serving them and helping them and making of them an engineer, an architect, a lawyer, the next President of the United States," said Castaño.
"UTEP is here for you, no matter where you go, we'll always be here for you. Once a Miner, always a Miner," said Bill Robertson, Associate Provost at UTEP.
Like Castaño, thousands of other UTEP graduates marched proud today, and their loved ones looked on, beeming with joy at their students who shed sweat and tears to earn an education.
"We're in the success business and this is an opportunity to celebrate our students' success," said Robertson.
For many of the students, who listened to UTEP President, Diana Natalicio speak today, this not the end but the beginning of many more goals to be accomplished.
"Their degree validates their effort and it gives them more opportunities, and I think that's really important, is getting more opportunities through education," said Robertson.
As for Erika Castaño, she says she hopes to find a job, and then go back to school for her Master's degree.