3 USC law grads share dream of being first to graduate from college

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- It was graduation day at University of California's law school on Friday, and three of those graduates shared their stories about how far they've come and how far they intend to go.

It was a thrilling day for Jenecia Martinez and fellow USC Gould School of Law grads Andres Cantero and Thai Viet Phan.

Though their journeys differ, they have a lot in common. All three are children of immigrants and the first in their family to graduate from college.

Phan's family came to the U.S. from Vietnam.

"My parents didn't go to college. They didn't really know what that was, they just said, 'You're going to college,'" said Phan.

Cantero is from Orange County and Martinez grew up in Inglewood. They come from low-income households, but their parents pushed them to work hard at school.

"They've worked so hard so that I can have everything that I've ever wanted and all their sacrifices. They're the reason that I'm here today," Martinez said.

Those parents and families were at USC on Friday to watch their children reach a milestone and get their diplomas.

"I've been emotional the last two days. I've been in tears. This is a dream come true," said Cantero's mother, Sandra.

All three graduates said they plan to return to their communities to help others.

"I feel empowered to change the world," said Andres Cantero. "And my message is: Just wait, I have lots of things coming."
Copyright © 2022 KABC Television, LLC. All rights reserved.