STEPHENVILLE — Krisol Villa Flores is driven.
She wanted to be a teacher so badly, she daily commuted an hour each way to Tarleton State University’s Waco campus to take classes.
A native of Chihuahua, Mexico, Krisol came to the United States eight years ago, not knowing English but having a determination to succeed.
And succeed she has.
She will take the stage Saturday morning at Tarleton’s Memorial Stadium to deliver the commencement address to graduates from the College of Education and the College of Science and Technology.
Seeing her little girl at a distinct educational disadvantage gave Krisol that initial push to serve in the classroom.
“Whenever I sent my daughter to school for the first time, my heart was breaking,” Krisol said. “Seeing her and the other children, I decided to do something to help them.”
She enrolled at McLennan Community College with an eye toward becoming a bilingual teacher, even though she couldn’t speak a word of English. “I decided I needed to come here for myself and my family. I started at MCC, and while I was there I learned about the Tarleton education program.”
Other universities were close to where she was living, but they didn’t offer the future she wanted for herself, her daughter and her family, most of whom still live in Mexico.
“I’m really blessed to have decided to go to Tarleton,” she said. “They embraced my culture. They celebrate different cultures. They provide a great educational experience, and they send you to the field, to different schools and different grades, to allow you to have the experience of what it looks like, what it feels like to interact with a lot of different kids.”
Following her graduation, Krisol will take a position as a first- and second-grade bilingual teacher in the Waco Independent School District. She’s confident her training at Tarleton has readied her for the challenge.
“It’s not easy, but the professors do a really good job of preparing us. They guide you through the whole process. They listen and they offer amazing support. That’s why I chose Tarleton.”
In her commencement address she will share some of the details of her life.
“I’ll tell my story. Who I am, why I decided to become a teacher, and how we need to challenge ourselves to meet our goals, have the motivation to compete.”
When it comes to utilizing motivation, listening to Krisol Flores might a good first step.