Pahola Queriapa selected as MCC's 2018 Dallas Herring Achievement Award nominee

April 2018

Pahola Queriapa selected as MCC's 2018 Dallas Herring Achievement Award nominee

“I still have the shoes that I wore when my mom and I came to the United States,” said Mayland Community College nursing student and 2018 Dallas Herring Achievement Award nominee Pahola Queriapa. “We walked the desert to cross the border. I remember it like it was yesterday, and I was four. I remember telling my mom that I couldn’t walk anymore. I told her I was tired and hungry, but she kept telling me to go just a little more. Her mission was to give me everything that she didn’t have.”

The first attempt to be with family in North Carolina ended with Queriapa and her mother being returned to Mexico after attempting to cross the United States border, but the second attempt proved successful. After getting separated from her mother on the second journey, Queriapa reconnected with her once both made it into the United States. The two traveled to connect with family in North Carolina, where it was a whole new world for Queriapa. Her aunt served as a comforting resource in transitioning to the new life, fitting in, and enrolling in school.

“I felt isolated and frustrated because I didn’t understand the language,” said Queriapa on enrolling in elementary school. “I had tutors that helped me, and by the time I was six I was speaking English. I always had this intuition inside me that I don’t ever back down from things.”

Pahola Queriapa selected as MCC's 2018 Dallas Herring Achievement Award nominee

The desire to be a nurse was something that Queriapa knew she was meant to do. She saw herself being with people at the beginning and the end of life. Her love for others motivates her studies to be a nurse.

The desire to be a nurse was something that Queriapa knew she was meant to do. She saw herself being with people at the beginning and the end of life. Her love for others motivates her studies to be a nurse.

When she first went to enroll at college, Queriapa was told she should look into different careers other than nursing because of her DACA status.

“I questioned a lot of things after hearing that,” said Queriapa. “Next, I came to Mayland and I was accepted regardless of my background.”

Queriapa faced a new challenge as she enrolled in the nursing program- paying out-of-state tuition. Her mother, determined for her to continue her education, worked hard to help her achieve her career dream.

“She wanted me to accomplish this goal,” said Queriapa. “It is why she brought me here and seeing all that my mom has done for me is very empowering. She is such a strong woman and would do anything for me.”

After the first semester, Queriapa was able to get a sponsorship to quality for the in-state tuition rate.

“I am very thankful for that. I have to work really hard, but I always think Pahola, you can do this. It will all be worth it one day,” said Queriapa. “Sometimes you don’t realize why things happen to you, but one day I will. Hopefully I will be that nurse that can change someone’s life. I strive to be that.”

This full time student exemplify Dr. Dallas Herring’s philosophy of “taking people where they are and carrying them as for as they can go.”

The North Carolina Community College System established the Dallas Herring Achievement Award in 2010 to honor the late Dr. Dallas Herring, one of the state's earliest advocates of community colleges. The award is bestowed annually upon a current or former student who best embodies Dr. Herring's philosophy.