Tarleton commencement speaker touts family's importance

TSU Newsroom

STEPHENVILLE — To Deysi Fuentes, it’s all about family.

Deysi graduated with a degree in interdisciplinary studies from Tarleton State University on Friday. She also delivered the commencement address.

A DACA student who came to Hillsboro as a 3-year-old from Hidalgo, Mexico, she has leaned on her family for support in making decisions.

Like the decision to come to Tarleton.

Deysi Fuentes

“Some of my high school friends had gone to Tarleton, and they loved it,” she said. “I decided to go with my family on a tour of the campus. It felt very homey. I loved the environment.

“There are so many traditions that are part of Tarleton that made me love it even more. Like Family Weekend. Anything that involved not just me but also my family made a difference to me. It was like home.”

Deysi graduated from Hillsboro High School in 2018 and just three years later will cross the stage to accept her college diploma.

“I got so much help from my teachers and taking dual credit courses in high school,” she said. “That helped a lot.”

Despite her relatively short time at Tarleton, Deysi made an impact as an active participant in Tarleton Professional Educators.

“It was great getting to know my professors on a more personal level, going on convention trips and learning different teaching strategies. I felt like I made personal connections with all of them.”

As a DACA student she has a distinctive perspective on getting a college education.

“I feel like sometimes the students who have those opportunities aren’t really encouraged to go to college,” she said. “But even when you’re given that opportunity, you have to go through some challenges to get there, and it makes it so much more rewarding.”

Not surprisingly, family is a key part of her commencement speech.

“I want to give thanks to my mom, my brothers and my sister. We went through some real challenges. I’m from a single-parent home, and I want to share our story on how we overcame those challenges.

“My sister is a college graduate, I’m graduating, and my brothers are starting their own business. Coming from another country, I wanted people to hear my appreciation for my family and how we helped each other reach our goals.”

Deysi did her clinical teaching her last semester at Tarleton and impressed her host school so much that it offered her a job. She has accepted a position as a first-grade bilingual educator at Hillsboro Elementary School.

“I grew up here and went to school here from pre-school though 12th grade,” she said, “so it’s nice to be able to give back to my community.”

Although her efforts were rewarded with employment, she still missed being away from Tarleton’s Stephenville campus as a senior.

“I felt like I was missing out, especially all the Homecoming traditions. Bonfire, late-night breakfasts at the president’s house, the parade. All those things that happen on campus. That’s what I’m really going to miss.”

But she will always have her family.