Killeen: Mom overcomes challenges, graduates with education degree
It's been a long road, full of challenges for one woman to graduate from college.
In a couple of months, Erika Gil will be starting a new chapter in her life.
She recently earned her degree from Texas A&M University-Central Texas and will be a teacher in Killeen ISD this fall.
"I'm not stopping right now, there's nothing stopping me," Gil said.
But the path to this moment wasn't easy.
Gil grew up in the Dominican Republican with very little money.
"There were days when there was no food to eat, days where you would just dream of what could it be," Gil said.
She kept these dreams when her family moved to Puerto Rico.
But once she started school she faced another dilemma, she didn't
"It was hard because it didn't make any sense," Gil said.
Determined, she self-taught herself with a dictionary.
After graduating from high school, Gil was forced to choose work over school.
"It was really hard to balance work and school," Gil said.
She soon met the love of her life, a U.S Army Staff Sergeant.
They ended up moving to Killeen, married and had kids.
She says the calling to return to school came when her son told he was bored at school.
"I asked myself, maybe I should just go back to school and try education. Being a teacher was something I never dreamed off," Gil said.
Motivated by her son, she decided to go back.
For four years, she juggled being a mom and a student.
"There were many times when I said I'm not doing this anymore, I'm too old for this," Gil said.
But her dedication paid off when she finally graduated with her degree.
"I just felt like my knees were wobbly and my heart was racing," Gil said.
She's sharing her story hoping she can inspire others
"I just want people to know that it's never late. If you have a dream you need to go and chase it," Gil said.
This Fall, Gil will be a teacher at Pershing Park Elementary.
She also plans on working towards her master's degree this Fall.