A California student who will be the first in her family to graduate college has gone viral with a tribute tweet to her immigrant parents.
Anna Ocegueda, 22, is set to graduate Sunday from the University of California, Merced with a degree in psychology, The Merced Sun-Star reported.
On May 6, Ocegueda tweeted a picture of herself, clad in a cap and gown, standing between her parents. The three are pictured in a field where her parents work picking fruit. She included the text, “POR USTEDES Y PARA USTEDES,” which means “Because of you and for you” in Spanish.
Ocegueda’s parents arrived in the United States 25 years ago as undocumented immigrants from Mexico. Over that time, they picked oranges, grapes and blueberries at California farms to support their five children.
“Knowing they’re out there working in the hot sun kept me going and doing it for them,” Ocegueda told NBC News.
Ocegueda’s story has resonated with many people, gaining coverage from national news outlets. The photo attracted at least 4,000 retweets and 16,000 likes, the Sun-Star reported, before Ocegueda set her tweets to private.
Twitter users reacted to the tweet, letting Ocegueda know how she inspired them.
"Dude I don’t even know you and im proud of you lol you just made all their struggles worth it," tweeted user Eduardo Contreras.
“This is so touching,” replied user Michael Espino. “I am grateful for all parents who sacrifice so much to ensure a better life for their children. My 80 yo Mom worked hard in the fields to allow things to happen for me.”
Ocegueda told the Sun-Star she didn’t realize the tweet would go viral, but understands why it did.
“I think people relate to it because they know what it's like to have parents who are working difficult jobs to support us,” she said. “They know that going to school will be a way to build a better life not only for themselves but for their parents as well.”
Ocegueda plans to use her bachelor’s degree to help children with autism or other psychological disorders, she told the Sun-Star.
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.