LOS ANGELES, Calif. (FOX 11) - College graduate Delmy Lopez beamed as she posed for a family photo -- her two sons by her side.
Dressed in graduation gear Lopez reflected on the monumental importance of this night -- this Cal State Los Angeles graduation.
Lopez was selected as a keynote speaker at a graduation banquet for CSULA School of Social Work. She described how at one point in life had lost custody of her own children. Lopez was determined "not to be a statistic."
She worked to win back custody of her children and now wants to be a social worker herself. Carson, 12, and Elijah, 10, looked ever so sharp in their suit and tie as they watched their mother take to the podium.
The dinner on the day of graduation is a time-honored tradition for the East L.A. students. It was an intimate celebration at the Quiet Cannon in Montebello.
Among their professors, William Wong, PhD., a DCFS social worker and coordinator of the "Wednesday's Child" segment on Fox 11 News that showcases children in foster in need of an adoptive home. He is a Cal State L.A. grad himself.
"What's unique about Cal State L.A. is that addition to being a federally recognized Hispanic serving institution, it's the most culturally diverse student and faculty population in the entire state of California," Wong said. "The majority of our students come from very modest means, hold down full-time jobs in addition to being full-time students and everything else. Most significant is that over 80 percent -- maybe even 90 percent -- of our graduating students are first-generation college grads."
Military veteran, Matthew Keels, was the second student speaker. As an Army veteran, he wants to work in social work helping veterans and work on policy.