As a student at Curie High School, Elizabeth Sandoval admits she didn’t try very hard and got pretty poor grades. Now, she is not only graduating with her associate degree in child development, but she’s doing so as Daley College’s 2019 valedictorian. And her family couldn’t be prouder.

After graduating from high school in the spring of 2014, Elizabeth and her husband welcomed their daughter, who was born that December.

“My daughter made me decide to go back to school. I didn’t want her to grow up saying her mom didn’t go to college – I want her to be proud of me.”

Following in her brother’s footsteps, she decided to attend Daley College because it was close to home and it made sense financially.

“When I first decided to go back to school, I thought I would feel like an outsider. Then, I started meeting more women who are also moms and we were all going through the same thing – trying to do homework while the kids are sleeping, taking morning classes to work around child care. I ended up finding friends and support.”

Her choice in a career pathway was also inspired by her daughter. Elizabeth is currently doing her practicum in the preschool classroom at CPS’s Seward Elementary and would like to be a preschool or early elementary teacher.

“My passion is with kids, seeing them learn – seeing my daughter learn is so much fun,” she says.

She’d advise other moms who are thinking of going back to school to “go for it, but manage your time. Stay organized – it’s worth it!”

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