Tehama County Graduate Pursues Dream of Teaching Children
For Immediate Release
REDDING, Calif. - Marybel Torres’ desire to teach and help the children in her Tehama County community took her on a journey to earn her B.A. in liberal studies through Simpson University’s School of Adult Studies ASPIRE degree-completion program. In addition to being a full-time student, she works multiple jobs and is busy raising her children, Deanna, 6, and Jesus Jr., 5.
“Teaching has become my passion, and Simpson is that big step which will allow me to achieve my dream,” the Gerber resident said.
Torres, along with 146 other students, received degrees during Simpson’s winter commencement ceremony on Saturday, Jan. 10. Students from the traditional undergraduate degree program, ASPIRE, the School of Education, the School of Graduate Professional Studies, and A.W. Tozer Theological Seminary participated in the graduation proceedings.
Torres was part of a 16-monthlong liberal studies degree program that met one night a week, a typical format for the ASPIRE program, which is designed to provide affordable and convenient schooling options for working adults to complete their bachelor’s degrees.
“The ASPIRE program allowed me and fellow students to focus on one subject at a time, allowing us to retain information so much better than with traditional schooling,” she said. “The hours were reasonable and allowed us to be employees, parents, or even volunteers.”
Torres also enjoyed the cohort set-up of the ASIPRE program.
“The relationships made in the cohorts are relationships for a lifetime,” she said. “We found many similarities in our lives; our cohorts are like an extended family. Support for one another was always there.”
One of the biggest obstacles Torres overcame in obtaining her bachelor’s degree was finances. “As a single mother, the cost of a higher education is expensive,” she said. “I was lucky enough to receive several scholarships which allowed me to focus on my schoolwork and not the financial strain of college.”
Before the 31-year-old started college, Torres worked as a waitress to help support her family after her father suffered a serious back injury. When she was 21, she was hired to work in the SERRF (Safe Education & Recreation For Rural Families) Afterschool Program at Los Molinos Elementary School. Even though she had no teaching experience, Torres’ bilingual skills as a Mexican-American made her an asset in the classroom.
In order to advance in her career, Marybel started taking classes at Shasta College in Redding in 2003, and over the course of 10 years, she earned associate degrees in human development and language arts. She was the first person in her family to go to college.
Torres planned to transfer to Chico State to finish her bachelor’s degree, but ever-changing transfer requirements kept putting that goal out of reach. “I felt disappointed,” she said. “Being a single mother of two children and working two jobs, I felt defeated.”
Torres first visited Simpson in April 2013 when one of her classes at nearby Shasta had been cancelled and she had time before her next class.
“I was introduced to a calm and loving campus with welcoming staff,” she said. “I was given the best information and introduced to the ASPIRE program. I left the coffee shop with my heart telling me, ‘this is where you need to be.’”
That same day, Torres decided to transfer to Simpson. She started ASPIRE classes at Simpson in May 2013. She began credentialing classes through Simpson’s School of Education in fall 2014 and hopes to do her student teaching at Los Molinos Elementary School or Gerber School in Tehama County. Her ultimate goal is to teach in Tehama County with an emphasis on English language development.
“I want to be a positive role model for Hispanic students in Tehama County,” she said. “I want to change the lives of students and encourage them to attend college and be an active participant in their local community.”
Marybel also said she was challenged in her faith journey through the ASPIRE program.
“Professors starting class with prayer allowed the Holy Spirit to guide me and help me learn,” she said. “Attending Simpson reminded me that God has faith in me. He has given me so many blessings this past year in ASPIRE, I found myself reconnecting my faith in God and returning to church.”
-Article by Elise Wilson
Simpson University, established in 1921, is a Christian university offering undergraduate, graduate, and teaching credential programs. The university celebrated its 25th year in Redding and the completion of a Science and Nursing Center in 2014. Academic programs include ASPIRE, a degree-completion program geared toward working adults with both on-campus and online course offerings, including degrees in psychology and organizational leadership. For information about the university, or to arrange a campus visit, call 1-888-9-SIMPSON or visit simpsonu.edu.
Contact: SU Public Relations