Palo Alto graduate, DeAnna Castano, is celebrating her success after overcoming an obstacle that stood in between her and her degree.
“I would sit there at the beginning of class that semester and I was like, ‘well, they all belong here, but I don’t,’” Castano said.
The mother of two majored in nursing and plans to transfer to dental at the University of Texas Health San Antonio.
She says her inspiration first started as a child when she developed periodontal disease.
“Periodontal disease first goes to gingivitis and then goes to periodontal disease. What it is, it’s a tartar that’s built up on your teeth, and if you don’t take off the plaque, then it turns into that, and then it turns into periodontal disease,” said Castano.
But, receiving her cap and gown was no walk in the park.
DeAnna has imposter syndrome. It’s when somebody feels that they are not adequate enough to be there... and in her case, it was school.
“I moved school so much that I wasn’t taught the fundamentals until a fifth-grade teacher at the start elementary here on the South Side,” she said. “They took the time to actually sit down and actually say what’s going on?”
To this day, she still struggles with reading and writing.
However, she says it all takes is practice and her faith in God to keep going.
One of DeAnna’s former teachers and mentor, Dr. Daniel Rodriguez, said she is a role model, to say the least.
“I haven’t seen a student with that kind of academic talent and that kind of passion as the way I’ve seen DeAnna,” he said.
”I wish that more students would follow her lead and reach out, kind of in the same way she did.”
DeAnna says once she stepped back and looked at everything she accomplished, she realized she did belong there after all ... and she’s ready for the next challenge.
“UT, I’m coming for you and I’m going to be able to pass you the same way I was able to pass everything else.”