Tacoma Community College’s three All-Washington students will be honored at an online ceremony hosted by South Puget Sound Community College at noon May 12, 2022. The All-Washington event honors high-achieving students from all of Washington’s 34 community and technical colleges. About TCC’s 2022 All-Washington Scholars:
When TCC Nursing Student Amelia Garza graduates this spring, she’ll still have plenty of schooling ahead of her. Amelia plans to go right into a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program, then spend four years working in an ER. After that she plans to apply to the UW School of Medicine with the ultimate goal of becoming a forensic pathologist.
Nursing school is famously as challenging as a full-time job, but Amelia has excelled in TCC’s Nursing program while also making time to parent her son and volunteer with her local food bank. She also volunteers at TCC, serving as the college’s Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Chi Gamma Chapter Treasurer. This fall she helped organize the Chapter’s College Project, an online mental health panel. As a result of her own experiences, Amelia is an outspoken advocate for mental health. She remembers the day she took stock of her life and realized that she was not where she wanted to be. Worse, she was becoming numb to the whole experience.
“I had accepted that my life was not the one I wanted to be living and my past self would have been so disappointed,” Amelia wrote in her application essay. “After having a surreal moment and truly reflecting on where my life got off track, it all clicked. I created an education and career plan, and I was determined to stick with it. I sought out mental health counseling, went to support groups for individuals who were in similar situations, and finally had enough confidence to change my situation.”
Once she felt she was back on the right education and career track and in charge of her mental health journey, Amelia began trying to help others break the stigma around mental health care and access needed services. As the oldest of many children and grandchildren in her family she has always been a leader, pushing her younger relatives and herself to do their best.
“I am the oldest of six siblings and oldest granddaughter,” Amelia wrote in her application. “I was raised to ‘lead by example’ and do what is right because I never knew if I had a set of little eyes watching. As an adult, this philosophy has followed suit. I volunteer where I am needed and step up when necessary.”
Amelia hopes that as she progresses through her educational and career plan, she will help people in a more meaningful and intentional way, both in her volunteer activities and in her career.
“I think about who I was as a child and who that child wanted to be when they grew up,” Amelia wrote in her application. “I am trying to make myself proud and I want to set a great example for my son, siblings, and family.”
Chloe Jazvic hopes to become a criminal law attorney. She started on that pathway by enrolling in TCCs Paralegal program to make sure that law is the right fit for her.
“I want to be able to help others who have pasts similar to mine through advocacy work and make a difference in the way our criminal justice system treats addicts and other marginalized groups,” wrote Chloe in an All-Washington essay. “The paralegal program at Tacoma Community College has so far been an amazing experience that has helped me realize that I have a passion for learning.”
At TCC, Chloe is involved in Phi Theta Kappa and the recently formed Titan Parents group. Because she is raising a child and working full time while attending school, she has appreciated the flexibility afforded by online classes.
“The opportunity for me to take online classes has been my saving grace and has allowed me to achieve a sense of school-work-life balance,” wrote Chloe.
Chloe describes her previous life as a “toxic cycle” that included addiction and other major challenges. However, she credits those challenges with helping her get to where she is today.
“I owe all of my current success to my past experiences,” wrote Chole. “If not for the hardships I have endured, I would not be so determined to completely turn my life around and never look back.”
Chloe wants to be an example of renewal and success to her fellow recovering addicts, and most importantly, to her son.
“I want to be the best example I can for him. I want to show him that his mother will never give up. That it is never too late to chase your dreams, educational or otherwise. I want to be an example to my fellow recovering addicts, that recovery is possible. My life is so beautiful today and I know that as long as I continue to work hard, I can achieve anything,” wrote Chloe.
After graduating from TCC’s Paralegal program, Chloe plans to work for a while and raise her son. Her ultimate goal is to obtain her Juris Doctorate degree and become a criminal law attorney.
Mariana Da Silva Lima Wray
Mariana Da Silva Lima Wray’s personal experience with the dramatic difference between the quality of public and private education in Brazil left her determined to become an empathic, outstanding public school teacher.
“It all started during my senior year of High School,” wrote Mariana in one of her All-Washington essays. “After attending exclusively private schools my whole life, my mom could no longer afford it and I had to complete my senior year at a public school. There, I was presented with the unfairness and injustices of the public education system in Brazil. I witnessed the government's oppression and neglect towards those who couldn't pay to study. And I finally realized that when you are raised in a country with so little opportunities to succeed, education is the only chance for a better life. Until then, my mom's sacrifices allowed me to stand in a privileged position where the issues of my country weren’t part of my reality. This experience has shaped my life and changed me completely. From that day on, I swore to never take my education for granted.”
Mariana started in the Adult Basic Education (ABE) program at TCC in 2019 with the goal of increasing her English skills and gaining a better understanding of American culture. In the ABE program she met professors who inspired her to pursue her dream of becoming a teacher who would provide excellent education to children from underserved communities. Mariana plans to teach in the public school system, helping refugee and immigrant kids adapt to a new language, culture, and lifestyle. Eventually, she plans to obtain a Ph.D. and work in higher education, supporting students through programs such as ESL, TESOL and ABE.
“I was inspired by the amazing teachers that believed in me when I immigrated to the US and helped me overcome the barriers of pursing education in another language,” Mariana wrote in an All-Washington essay. “Teaching is my passion and I acknowledge the responsibility of it. So, I hope to build my professional career in the service of others always advocating for minority groups and fighting social justice in all instances. Mostly, I hope to continue their beautiful work of sharing knowledge and changing the world through education.”
At TCC, Mariana has become deeply involved with student life. She has worked as a student leader for the Office of Student Engagement and has also taken on a leadership role in TCC’s Black Student Union (BSU). Throughout the pandemic, Mariana volunteered to help the BSU create personal hygiene kits and distribute them to students and community members. Since student organizations were allowed to return to campus, Mariana and the other BSU leaders have taken on an increasing active role at the college and in the community, hosting Black History Month events and partnering with community organizations to ensure that students and their families can access the resources they need.
In 2021, Mariana was selected as one of the college’s three Ellen Pinto Outstanding Students of the Year. This June, Mariana will graduate from TCC with an Associate of Arts & Specialization in Elementary Education. She plans to earn a second Bachelor’s degree before launching a career in public education.
Mariana has been selected as one of Washington State Employee’s Credit Union (WSECU)’s Top Sixteen All-Washington Scholars for 2022.