Angelica Lazari Hernandez vividly remembers the creation of her childhood goals when she was a girl growing up in Mexico, but she has faced much opposition throughout her life. In her first grade class, Hernandez’s teacher told the children, “This is a picture of the Statue of Liberty. Not that you should care, or [that] you will ever see it, but I have to teach it.” At that moment, Hernandez decided that she would see it one day. Three years later, after she moved to Massachusetts, she finally saw the Statue of Liberty.
Hernandez, currently a junior English major at the University of Dallas, has lived in three different countries and has two grown daughters, one of whom is currently in college.
After living in the U.S. for three years as a child, Hernandez returned to Mexico, where she completed her high school education.
“I was basically my own tutor,” Hernandez said of her high school education. Although she was given textbooks, she had to study by herself in preparation for the exams. “It was always my dream to go to college and become an academic, yet due to financial reasons, I never had the opportunity to aspire for a higher education,” Hernandez said.
Some days during her childhood in Mexico, Hernandez did not have any food. “Life is difficult,” she simply said.
Hernandez and her husband moved to Japan, where her two daughters were born, and lived there for 12 years. Hernandez had the chance to travel throughout Japan with her family. She became fluent in Japenese during her stay in Japan and her daughters grew up speaking both Japanese and Spanish.
“Once I moved to Japan and got a stable job, I decided to go back to college, and I wanted to be in the U.S.,” Hernandez said. She began to save up for university through her work as an Assistant Language Teacher in elementary and middle schools.
Hernandez does not give herself all the credit in achieving her goals in education. “God made everything possible and now I’m here,” she said.
Once she moved back to the U.S., she continued her education. She received an associate’s degree in English and Arts at Harper University in Illinois, and then transferred to UD with tuition from an honors society scholarship.
Hernandez admitted that her choice for UD was not prompted by knowledge of the school, but more by location, as UD is only a few minutes from her house.
The Core curriculum came as a surprise for Hernandez, but she still appreciates its value. “I didn’t realize that I had to take Bible study and philosophy,” she said, “but now I sound smart when I argue with people.” She always had an interest in such subjects and continues to pursue the liberal arts through her English degree.
Hernandez especially values the classics she has studied through the Core since many people do not get the opportunity to learn about works like the Iliad or philosophers like Plato.
“Everything comes back, we need to remember certain things,” she said, “and it does make a huge difference.”
Hernandez now lives with her youngest daughter, her dog, and her cat, Gatito, who she rescued in Japan, looking like a “sack of bones.”
After receiving her B.A. in English from UD, Hernandez hopes to get her master’s degree in English as a Second Language (ESL). She aspires to teach ESL in the future to give people the same opportunities that she herself has been given.
Hernandez’s advice to her fellow students at UD is simple. “Don’t let other people crush your dreams,” she encourages. “Trust in God. He has it figured out.”