Jennifer Rocha graduated from UC San Diego with a degree in Sociology with an emphasis in Law and Society
Graduating from college is always a matter of pride especially for the children of immigrants who came to America seeking a better life. Their success is built on the hard work and sacrifices of their parents. Honoring the labor that goes into becoming a successful graduate, Jennifer Rocha took her graduation pictures where all the work happened. The UC San Diego graduate decided to take pictures with her parents in the farm fields where she has been assisting them since high school. The stunning pictures have now gone viral and striking a chord with others who are praising Rocha for her thoughtful gesture.
Jennifer Rocha, the daughter of immigrants and the first in her family to attend college, shared this powerful graduation photo and I can't stop thinking about it. pic.twitter.com/1xIq02MiI1— Max Burns (@themaxburns) June 12, 2021
Rocha is a Coachella native decided to take the photographs as a way to thank her parents for teaching her and her siblings the importance of getting an education. She will soon be graduating with a degree in Sociology with an emphasis in Law and Society. Rocha's next goal is to go into law enforcement. Speaking to ABC 10 News she shared about the times her parents always encouraged her and her siblings to do well in school, to work hard so they would not have to work in the fields like them. She has been working with her parents on the field since she was in junior high, sometimes working overnights to plant strawberries.
“Thank you to my parents I’m a badass with a diploma” is what Jennifer Rocha wrote on her graduation cap. The @ucsandiego student took her graduation pics in a farm field to honor her parents. Since high school she worked alongside them planting strawberries.— David Begnaud (@DavidBegnaud) June 13, 2021
📷:Branden Rodriguez pic.twitter.com/WrzgxnMo2V
Sharing the pictures on her social media Rocha wrote: "From a young age I was able to realize the difficult labor it is to be a migrant worker." Her graduation cap said, “Thank you to my parents I’m a badass with a diploma,” in Spanish, according to CBS correspondent David Begnaud who shared Rocha's story on Twitter. Begnaud continued, "About her parents, she says, 'they were like if you don’t go to college you’re going to be here...' without them 'I wouldn’t have this degree.' She plans to go into law enforcement 'to show the people that there are good people in there and not just bad people.'"
"Chingona con diploma" made me smile— Gw👻i L🌐, MD 🔰🌃⚕️ (@GwailoMD) June 13, 2021
The pictures showed Rocha in her graduation gown and cap working alongside her parents in the fields. The image was powerful and people could not help but admire the message behind it. One user wrote: The is so beautiful!! The pride this family has is amazing. Good for her for honoring her parents and yes, indeed, this is so badass. So proud of them!! Another user tweeted: These are the most beautiful family photos I have seen in a long time. I am saving them. The emotions these images elicit are worthy of self-reflection.
About her parents, she says, “they were like if you don’t go to college you’re going to be here..." without them “I wouldn’t have this degree.” She plans to go into law enforcement "to show the people that there’s good people in there and not just bad people“— David Begnaud (@DavidBegnaud) June 13, 2021
📸:Branden Rodriguez pic.twitter.com/VXsGnw8ASY
In high school, Rocha was the star athlete in high school with dreams of joining the FBI. She is now one step closer to the dream. In an interview she did with Desert Sun after graduating from high school she said her goal of joining law enforcement was to help people feel secure in their communities. At UC San Diego she joined the Community Service Officer Program in addition to her course. The program allows students to take on some responsibilities of campus police, such as providing safety escorts, patrolling parking lots, and providing medical aid.
Rocha had to leave behind her parents and younger brothers to go to college. She applied to the school's summer program to get a jumpstart for her credits. Before this, she was already used to a hectic lifestyle. She would wake up at four in the morning every day to help her parents in the strawberry field. It was her motivation, she said. She left all this behind to pursue her dreams and is coming out the other side with flying colors. "They could see that I'm really happy," she said. "So they're really happy for me." She hopes her story helps inspire other immigrant families that hard work does pay off.
4 years later and we got that diploma! pic.twitter.com/lGm9J1vSmq— Jennifer🇲🇽 (@Jennifer22Rocha) June 13, 2021