A man who recently graduated medical school found a special way to pay tribute to his parents while looking back at how far they’ve come.
To mark his graduation from medical school, 29-year-old Erick Juárez decided to honor his parents by returning to the farm where his parents had worked since the 1980s. Juárez’s parents, Loreto and Maricela Juárez, have worked on the same farm since immigrating to the United States in the 1980s.
Following graduation, Juárez stopped by the farm in what has now become a family tradition each time after he earned a degree to take pictures that he uploaded to Instagram.
“I wanted to honor my parents by showcasing them to my friends and the world,” Juárez told Today. “What better way than showing the world how far we’ve come since they immigrated to this great nation with nothing but their hard work ethic and the clothes on their backs?”
Like many migrant families, Loreto and Maricela came to the United States from Mexico in hopes of finding a better life for themselves and their children. Each the oldest of 10 siblings, they worked on farms in North Carolina and Florida before joining a migrant farmworker camp and relocating to Bainbridge, Georgia, the outlet reported.
Juárez said, “My parents arrived in the U.S. with nothing to lose but everything to gain.”
From a young age, Juárez knew he wanted to practice medicine. Graduating valedictorian of Bainbridge High School — the first Hispanic student to do so — in 2010, Juárez briefly attended the United States Military Academy at West Point before transferring to Harvard University where he later earned a Bachelor of Arts in neurobiology.
Following the completion of his undergraduate studies, Juárez attended the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University earning his M.D. this May.
Reflecting on his early childhood experiences that motivated him Juárez describes his return to the field as a “victory lap” that pays tribute to his family for all their support.
“My parents didn’t have the chance to make it past elementary [dad] and middle [mom] school in rural México” he wrote in a post. “So they came here to the US – to work as farm workers mostly in rural, southwest Georgia.”
“My graduation from medical school was one small step for me, one giant leap for fam-kind. It’s as much, if not more, a victory lap for them as it is for me. And I couldn’t be prouder of them,” he continued. “The first in my entire family history/ancestry to earn a white-collar job (to my knowledge). And I get to help folks feel better – the best part!”
In June, Juárez embarked on the next chapter starting a neurology residency at UCLA Health in Los Angeles. Grateful for where he comes from Juárez is even more excited about what lies ahead.
Source: People Magazine