Graduation is a special time for many in the Valley, but for one Turlock family it was especially unique. Five members of the Briones family graduated from different schools in the area this spring, continuing the ideal of the importance of education that has always been at the family’s core.
Marcelo Briones received his Master’s of Arts in Education from Stanislaus State on May 26, just five days after his oldest daughter, Marina, walked the stage at Sonoma State and was awarded her Bachelor’s of Arts in Psychology. Also on May 26, Marcelo’s second oldest daughter, Kianna, graduated from Pitman High School. The following day, his daughter Elizabeth participated in Turlock Junior High School’s promotion ceremonies and on June 2, his youngest son, Aaron, graduated from kindergarten at Franklin Elementary in Merced.
“We always knew we were going to have four graduates, but me getting my master’s just added to the excitement,” said Marcelo.
Marcelo previously had received his administrative credential, but never finished obtaining his master’s degree. After encouragement from his wife, he went back and finished his degree this spring. As principal of the Educational Option Department at the Stanislaus County Office of Education, Marcelo and his wife Dolores, who teaches second grade at Franklin, have always viewed education as the most important thing a person can have. Throughout the years, they have instilled that same belief into their children.
“The difference between a job and a career is the education you have,” said Marcelo. “We’ve tried to instill that in them. The oldest has served as an example and the others are following right along; but, examples are only there to show you what to do and it’s up to the kids to follow through.”
Marcelo and Dolores have served as an example for their children as well, both obtaining their bachelor’s degrees from Stanislaus State, where they met. Dolores went on to acquire her teaching credential, and Marcelo followed suit once she had completed hers.
“She said to me, ‘Okay, it’s your turn,’” said Marcelo.
The two took turns going to school so that they could still raise their family, said Marcelo, with him eventually finishing his master’s degree this spring and donning a cap and gown with the rest of his family. As for Dolores, she hopes to return to school and obtain either her own master’s degree or a different credential.
Marina, who graduated from Sonoma State in four years, will be attending graduate school at Loyola University in Chicago this fall.
“It’s awesome to see our kids continue with their education,” said Marcelo. As for himself, Marcelo says the learning will never stop.
“Once a student, always a student.”