Veronica Jara started a new job this semester as an administrative assistant for Dean David Burleson in the Arts, Humanities and Social Science Division at Doña Ana Community College (DACC).
Her first day of the new job, she was greeted by a standing ovation from her former co-workers of the DACC Facilities Support Department (FSD). An unusual beginning to a work day, but they knew where she came from, and the sacrifice and hard work it took to earn the position she has now.
Jara was raised in Jalisco, Mexico. She and her husband came to the United States and settled in Las Cruces. She was working at Walmart as a cake decorator when she decided to apply for a position with FSD so she could work during the week and not work weekends and holidays, in order to spend more time with her family. Jara worked for three years at DACC as a custodian.
According to all, Jara did a great job, eventually earning the coveted community college “Star of Excellence” award in 2017.
“I knew the job had advantages over my previous employment, I loved the people I worked with, but didn’t want to stay in this position forever,” Jara said. “One day my son said, ‘Mom, I used to picture you decorating cakes and now I picture you cleaning bathrooms.’ She was somewhat shocked at his comments and as a result became more determined to earn an associate degree from the college.
So she began her educational career working full time, raising three children, and taking a full load of classes. Along the way, she successfully juggled the parts of her life to earn Crimson Scholar Status as an outstanding student and eventually earned a degree in Business Office Technology in the fall 2017 semester. She applied for a job as an administrative assistant at DACC was interviewed and chosen because of her skills and meeting the educational requirements.
“It was difficult going back to school because I graduated from high school in 1996,” Jara said. “There was 19 years that went by before I saw the inside of a classroom again.”
Her former supervisor lauded her accomplishments and “get-it-done” attitude. Dean Burleson also speaks highly of Jara. “We are glad to have Veronica in our Division,” Burleson said. “She is proof of how education can help you in your career or to start a new one.”
“It was worth it to come back to school and earn a degree,” Jara said. “I am now working towards my second associate degree and hope to transfer to New Mexico State University in the future. Another great thing about attending college is my daughter Stefany is going to school with me, majoring in nursing at DACC,” she added.