Valedictorian Blasina Tavarez in graduation gown

“Conquering my fears and my faith in God is an essential component of my success.”  
Blasina Tavarez confesses she was “a little overwhelmed” when she learned she’d been chosen as the Valedictorian of the Hostos Class of 2020. Her journey to this achievement has spanned two countries and several decades. Through it all she’s found support from loved ones, employers, and instructors – and her own indomitable drive to succeed.  
Born in the Dominican Republic, Tavarez arrived in New York City in 1993. Raising two daughters and making sure they received educations took up a great deal of her time and energy, as did working full-time. (Tavarez has been affiliated with Manhattan’s Goddard Riverside Community Center for many years now.) But in 2017, with her children firmly on their way to achieving their goals, Tavarez decided to return to school.   
It had been a long time since she’d last been a student in the Dominican Republic. What would it be like dealing with a different educational system, a different language, and classmates who’d most likely be decades younger?  
“The longer I waited,” she said, “the more fearful I was about coming back.” She knew she needed to carefully prepare for her return if she wanted to succeed. College prep courses led to successfully completing various CUNY assessment tests. She tried part-time classes and a summer class to test the waters. Then she took the plunge, and in Spring 2018 she enrolled as a full-time student at Hostos. Tavarez graduates with a degree in office technology with a focus on medical office management. After a well-deserved break, she intends to pursue her studies in health service administration or in health information management.  
Speaking of what she’s accomplished, Tavarez is modest. She praises her husband of 32 years, her daughters (both of whom are now college grads), her boss at the Community Center, and her advisers and instructors for their belief in her.  Drawing upon her own experiences, she summarizes what she’s learned en route to this day.  “Never, never give up if you really have the desire to do something. There will always be obstacles. Conquer your fears. Face your challenges. Believe in  you.”  
Being chosen as Valedictorian is particularly fulfilling for Tavarez because the College offers the educational opportunities and the welcoming atmosphere she’d been hoping to find. “Hostos  is  the best place I could have picked when I decided to come back to school,” she said. “I always felt, from day one, like I was at home.”