Alyssa Castillo says that it doesn’t matter if you’re 24 or 64 when you get your high school diploma. The only thing that matters, she says, is whether it is important to you.
“We can’t go on in life making excuses because it’s too hard or we don’t have the time,” said Alyssa, standing on stage at Highlands Winter Graduation. “Everybody is on a different time and everybody’s life goes according to their time. Almost 7 years ago, was their time and today is my time.”
Alyssa said she has never really finished anything in her life, and this moment, walking across that stage to get her diploma, was monumental.
“I’ve had a long, hard life,” Alyssa said. “At the age of 21, I had to bury my husband, and raise our children alone with the help of family and friends. I struggled everyday to make ends meet and raise my three children up right – trying to go to school several times, but never being able to finish.”
Just when she was about to give up, once and for all, she heard about Highlands. Now, she has not only completed her high school diploma, but she is also on her way to college to be a Licensed Practical Nurse (LVN) like she has always wanted.
“I lost myself for a while, and it sounds crazy, but that was important because I now know who I am and what I am capable of doing,” Alyssa said. “At first, I didn’t understand why I went through all of these obstacles, but I understand now that God did it to make me a strong woman who would not break.”
That strength was evident as Alyssa gave her last piece of advice and walked off the stage.
“Accept the wrong that life throws at you because one day you will see why it did. So stay true to yourself. Happiness starts with you. Not your relationship, not your job – you!” she said. “You can’t dwell on the past and let others get in your way. Someone is always going to judge the way we live our lives, but the only person who can have an opinion on how you live your life is you. Stand for what you believe in and don’t let anything stop you.”