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GOOD NEWS: First generation graduate wants to make a difference - Odessa American: Good News

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GOOD NEWS: First generation graduate wants to make a difference

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Posted: Tuesday, December 22, 2020 6:00 am

MIDLAND “God made me the youngest in my family so that I could see the directions my siblings were taking and decide for myself which way to go,” Fabby Torres said. “The question I asked myself was – do I want to go to college and try to make a difference?”

Midland native Fabby Torres is the youngest of five children and the first in her family to graduate from college. Both of her parents left school in the third grade. She graduated from Midland Lee in 2017.

“My brothers and sisters went to college but never finished,” Torres added. “I thought that I would be exactly like them.”

Torres followed after her two older brothers and two older sisters throughout her life. Her parents are Hispanic, and her dad never wanted his children to forget Spanish. He would tell Fabby, “I don’t care what language you learn. I don’t care what you decide to do as long as you don’t forget your culture and your background.”

Her parents believed that women were not supposed to strive and succeed in the pursuit of a career. Women should be housewives and mothers, a mentality she embraced throughout her high school years.

“I was supposed to get married and have kids,” she said. “Despite knowing that, I told myself I was a different breed. In my sophomore year in high school, my counselors told me about Midland College (MC) and the Legacy Scholarship.”

She put that conversation to the side until the end of her sophomore year when she decided that she needed to do something with her life.

“I had to think about my future, so I started to take everything very seriously,” Torres explained. “I had some of the highest grades in high school.

“When I was younger, I disliked school and didn’t take it seriously. Upon reflection, I feel that God puts people in your path that will help you become a better person. I decided to start school. I had a lot of teachers and mentors.”

Fabby enrolled at MC funded by the Legacy Scholarship in 2017. That is when she met Associate Director of Scholarships Erin Casey-Richardson.

“When I started at MC, I was on the Legacy Scholarship,” Torres said. “I would go to Erin’s office and complain about my classes. She would look at my grades, and if there was a B, she would say ‘Get it up. You are better than this.’”

At the end of her second year of college, Casey-Richardson called and asked to meet. She told her that her school funding through the Legacy Program was ending.

Torres struggled with the news: “My heart sank. I thought that I would never finish.”

Casey-Richardson arranged for her to meet Outreach & Bill Pace Cogdell Scholarship Coordinator Josie Samaguey. That meeting resulted in Torres receiving the Bill Pace Cogdell Scholarship, which financed the remainder of her education at MC and continues to pay for her education at The University of Texas of the Permian Basin (UTPB).

While at Midland College, Torres was also a Phi Theta Kappa member and a two-time legacy essay winner. This experience added to her sense of community and helping others.

Professor of Government and Director of the MC Honors Program Dr. Terry Gilmour remembers Torres well: “Fabby was a member of Phi Theta Kappa, the International Honor Society for community college students, which means that she had to maintain a very high GPA. As the advisor, I appreciate Fabby’s enthusiasm and smiling face and her willingness to put forth the extra effort in all endeavors!”

Fabby Torres graduated with honors from Midland College in the Fall of 2019 with an Associate of Arts in Teaching and was on the dean’s list.

She just completed her second semester at UTPB and is currently working on a Bachelor of Arts in Multidisciplinary Studies with a certification in Early Childhood through the 6th grade. She is already in the teacher certification program and was recently elected president of BESO (Bilingual Students Educational Organization) at UTPB.

Her mentors at Midland College are not surprised to hear that Torres is doing well.

“When I think of Fabby Torres, I remember her warm smile and determination to become a teacher,” Casey-Richardson said. “I am not surprised to hear she is doing well at UTPB, but it does warm my heart. I know she will do incredible things in the world of education.”

Josie Samaguey feels blessed to have had the opportunity to help Torres as one of the Bill Pace Cogdell Scholarship recipients.

“Fabby is the kind of student everyone dreams they could have,” Samaguey said. “She has a goal, and there is no doubt she will reach it.”

Torres’ primary goal is to teach Pre-K and help others achieve their goals.

“I want to stay in Midland because this is my community,” she explained. “People in my life made a difference with me, and I will strive to make a difference for others. I want to educate the younger minds and help guide them toward their future.”

Her advice to future students is simple: “Put God in the first place. If you feel there is no other way, remember that God is using you like a pencil to write a story that will help others. Don’t forget that there are people to help you.”

Fabby Torres’ experience at Midland College started her on a path to her future: “Because of my background I learned to strive to the best of my abilities. I know that I am smart, and I believe in myself.”

Odessa, TX

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