Two Yuma students overcome obstacles to achieve higher education
Story by Stephanie Sanchez, Reporter - bio | email
Yuma, AZ-Two local college students overcome financial and medical obstacles to graduate.
A few years ago, Paul Gutierrez found himself struggling to make ends meet as a real estate broker. He had no college degree and to top things up he was diagnosed with cancer.
"That was really hard on my body but I never stopped going to school," Gutierrez said.
Gutierrez said he made the decision to return to school shortly after the housing market plummeted.
He said he was determined to fight cancer and continue his education at the same time.
"What kept me going was when I was diagnosed with cancer, I didn't want this thing to beat me,"Gutierrez said. "Because my desire for a higher education was greater than the cancer itself."
Gutierrez is now graduating from the University of Phoenix-Yuma campus with a Master's of Business Administration.
Gutierrez was named as the outstanding graduate student and was the key speaker for the MBA graduating class.
Dalenna Hessling, a single parent said she struggled to support her children and make ends meet.
She said it wasn't an easy task .
"The biggest obstacle was being able to juggle the responsibilities of school, working full time, and taking care of my children full time," Hessling said.
She said she had to turn to public assistance for a while to pursue her studies.
She graduated with an associates and then later landed a full-time job.
"Also coming from the public assistance program it was definitely a shock to go from public assistance to not being on it and being able to succeed on my own," Hessling said. "So that was a big accomplishment for me and being able to do that for my children."
Hessling now graduated with a Bachelor's of Public Administration from the University of Phoenix as well.
Gutierrez is also proud to announce that his cancer is currently in remission.
As for Hessling she plans to take a year off and spend more time with her kids.
She's also thinking of going back and pursuing a Master's degree..
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