My Mom’s Strength: By Rianne Banuelos

Sharon, Randen, Randy and Rianne Banuelos at Commencement 2018

Sharon, Randen, Randy and Rianne Banuelos at Commencement 2018

Four years ago, Westmont College was a lofty, far-off dream.  I loved Westmont from the first day I set foot on it and hoped that somehow I could come to this school and be a part of the wonderful Christian community.  However, I knew that without significant sacrifices I could not come, no matter how much I liked it.

I grew up in a small town where both of my parents have lived all their lives. When the time came for me to graduate high school and think about college, leaving home did not seem like it would be a reality.  Based on academics, I knew that being admitted would not necessarily be the difficult part in choosing a college. But being the oldest child and only girl, strong emotional ties were keeping me close to home.

Rianne Banuelos

Rianne Banuelos

By the grace of God and tremendous generosity from others, the day before I had to commit to a college, I found out I would be able to attend Westmont on a scholarship.  While I felt, and still feel, infinitely blessed to have received this gift, I still wondered how my parents would feel about me being gone for the next four years.

I would like to acknowledge just a few ways in which my mother has made both physical and emotional sacrifices for me to be at Westmont.  There are so many aspects to being a college student that I could not have done without my mom.  From being a source of emotional support, to answering any financial questions, to giving me updates on everything happening at home, my mom has always been the person I could go to for anything.

I know it has been hard for my mom to have me out of the house, and even more so to let me go abroad my junior year, but I respect the strength she has exhibited in letting me branch out to have an expansive college experience.  I have striven to make the most of what college offers while remembering the people who brought me to this place.  Both of my parents have pushed me from a young age to do the absolute best I could, and I believe this drive led me to Westmont.

I hope that I am able to continue building my character with the values I was brought up with and the lessons I learned at college so I can make my parents proud as I enter a career.  Both my mom and dad and all the people I encountered at Westmont have shaped who I am today.  I am extremely grateful for all of the opportunities I have had up to this point and hope that I can someday give back to others in the way people have blessed me.