This Mother’s Day weekend will be extra special for Ana Gallardo.
The young mother will receive her associate’s degree in general studies from Colorado Mountain College in Glenwood Springs on Saturday after enrolling in courses off and on throughout the past decade.
Gallardo was also accepted into Colorado Mountain College’s nursing program after three application attempts.
The first-generation Mexican American student’s rate of progress may seem unremarkable, but Gallardo chose to focus on raising her daughter first before anything else — a decision she made when she was only 18-years-old.
“I was pregnant in high school and I was a teen mom,” Gallardo said. “And when I had her in 2011, that’s when I decided to sign up for Colorado Mountain College.”
Not wanting to miss out on any of her daughter’s milestones in addition to being unable to afford daycare while attending school, Gallardo stayed home with Mia until she reached an age where she could attend school full-time.
At only 10 years old, Mia is grateful for the time her mother made for her.
“I’m really proud of my mom for getting into nursing, even though she’s been with me all this time,” Mia said. “She had to drop out and take care of my needs, and I’m proud of her for that.”
The fourth-grader is now helping with household chores so her mother can focus on homework.
“Now that she’s older, I don’t think I could’ve done it without her being so helpful,” Gallardo said.
Gallardo’s motivation to become a nurse stems from accompanying her own mother on visits to the doctor’s office.
Gallardo recalls how kind, patient and enthusiastic the nurses would be toward her mother, who was diagnosed with lupus.
“I always knew I wanted to be a nurse,” Gallardo said.
Her advice to other moms out there is to believe that a career goal can still be achieved as a parent.
“Have patience and that it’s OK that it will take some time,” Gallardo said. “It doesn’t matter what order things come in life; what matters is to keep working on that goal slowly.”
Colorado Mountain College will be holding the following commencement ceremonies for the Aspen, Carbondale, Glenwood Springs Center and Spring Valley Campuses at the Pavilion of the Outdoor Leadership Center & Field House at the Spring Valley Campus at the following times:
1 p.m.: Colorado Law Enforcement Academy, livestream available at https://colomtn.me/32wjGCf.
9 a.m.: Nursing: Associate of Applied Science and Bachelor’s of Science Graduates, livestream available at https://colomtn.me/2QIqMBb.
11 a.m.: Career/Technical Certificates/Degrees, Associate of Applied Science, Bachelors of Applied Science, livestream available at https://colomtn.me/3gsrXiS.
1 p.m.: Associate of Arts, Associate of Science, Associate of General Studies and Bachelor’s Degrees livestream available at https://colomtn.me/3grl0OY.
All ceremonies are ticketed events, no more than two guests per student.
Reporter Shannon Marvel can be reached at 605-350-8355 or firstname.lastname@example.org.