Twins accepted to UHV as first in family to go to college
Twins Sofia and Soledad Vallejo grew up hearing a request and challenge from their mother: to graduate so that she could hang their graduation photos on the living room wall of their home.
Now the two are planning to have not only their high school graduation photos in their living room, but also their college photos after they graduate from the University of Houston-Victoria.
“I told them that the only thing I want to be hanging in our living room are their graduation photos,” their mother Cecilia Palacios said. “They make me so proud as their mother because they have put in a lot of effort and have worked hard, and now they will be going to college.”
Sofia and Soledad are seniors at Victoria West High School, and both have been accepted into UHV. They are the youngest of six children and are the first in their family to graduate from high school and be accepted into college.
UHV student recruitment coordinators host events at high schools throughout the state to help students apply to UHV and answer questions. Cathy Coronado, a UHV student recruitment coordinator, has worked with Sofia and Soledad and is happy to hear that both will be UHV students.
“I think going to college is one of the best experiences you can have because that is when students find out who they are and what they want to do in their careers,” Coronado said. “It is truly a wonderful time for them to meet new people, find out what interests them and help them grow.”
During all four years of high school, Sofia and Soledad were members of Advancement Via Individual Determination, or AVID, an advanced academic program that helps students prepare for college and success. They also were involved in soccer, volunteered at local events such as Boot Fest, and were members of the school’s K-Pop Club, which Soledad helped create.
“We chose UHV because it is a good school that has programs some universities don’t have, and it’s right here in Victoria,” Soledad said. “We can both go to school and still be able to stay close to our family and Mom.”
Soledad, who is the younger twin by a minute, plans to major in business to study to become an entrepreneur. She has watched members of her family have their own businesses, such as her mom doing party decorating and her aunt building wooden tables and chairs. It inspired her to create and manage her own business one day. She would like to have her own book café and create beauty supplies such as homemade face masks.
Soledad said she is looking forward to being a UHV student and meeting people from outside Victoria. She also is looking forward to opportunities to grow at UHV and might even start another student organization.
“I do feel very proud of us,” she said. “It was nerve-wracking because school is stressful but worth it because all of our baby cousins and nieces and nephews look up to us.”
Sofia plans to become a labor and delivery nurse. She will attend Victoria College and then continue to the UHV Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing program. She has wanted to work as a nurse in labor and delivery since she was in eighth grade when she was present for the delivery of her nephew.
“I looked at the way the nurses were helping before, during and after the baby was born, and I found the process so interesting,” Sofia said. “I love to help people and make them feel better.”
Sofia said she can see herself staying in Victoria and helping deliver babies in her hometown. She is looking forward to growing and learning while she is a student at UHV, and she is excited to meet people and try new things. She also plans to be involved in campus student organizations.
“I know there will be opportunities at UHV that will open doors for me, so I am looking forward to my future,” she said.
Palacios, who is originally from Mexico, said she always has wanted her children to be responsible, humble and to try hard in whatever they do. She did not go to school past the second grade, and so for her youngest children to be able to graduate from high school and go to college is a proud and emotional moment for the mother.
Palacios said she was in Mexico on a medical visit when her daughters called to tell her that they both had been accepted to UHV. She cried over the good news and celebrated when she got home.
“They are both so happy, and I am so happy for them,” she said. “I cannot even describe how happy I am. I am very proud of them.”
The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region since 1973, offers courses leading to more than 80 academic programs in the schools of Arts & Sciences; Business Administration; and Education, Health Professions & Human Development. UHV provides face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus, as well as an instructional site in Katy, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. UHV supports the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Opportunities for All initiative to increase awareness about state colleges and universities and the important role they have in providing a high-quality and accessible education to an increasingly diverse student population, as well as contributing to regional and state economic development.