BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Bakersfield College student and Student Government Association president Edith Mata will deliver a welcome speech at Bakersfield College’s graduation ceremony Thursday night.

She’s traveled a long road to reach that stage, through two countries, motherhood and various levels of schooling.

In her own words, Mata explains her motivation to keep going and her hopes for the graduating classes taking part in the ceremony.

“I am Edith Mata, and I am Bakersfield Student Government Association President for the class of 2022.

I was born in Kern County, and I resided in Mexico for about eight years, and then came back to Kern County, and I haven’t left since then.

I had to do a lot of healing. I was a very young mother, I had my son very young, and I was also a high- school dropout. Having my son gave me courage to just heal, and also become better for my son.

I decided that I wanted to pursue higher education. I had fallen in love with education and what it was doing for me.

I will be addressing our graduates and their families and beloved ones as we celebrate and obtain our degrees. I am excited and blessed.

Some of it will be delivered in Spanish, which I feel very privileged to do, because it’s more inclusive of everyone, as 80 percent of our student population identifies as Hispanic. I’m very passionate about that, and I would like to serve the greater community.

I hope that we all continue to pursue our goals and this is one more of the milestones that we have surpassed, and we are celebrating. We have done the impossible and faced the unimaginable together.”