Motlow’s Oscar Meza-Abarca cherishes Hispanic heritage as first-generation student

Oscar Meza-Abarca is part of a growing number of Hispanic students attending Motlow College. Since 2015, Motlow State’s Hispanic student population has almost tripled. (Photo courtesy of Motlow)

EDUCATION | Hispanic enrollment is growing nationally and Motlow State is no exception. It’s Hispanic numbers have almost triples in the past five years. In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, the college recently shared with us the story of one of it’s first generation students.

Oscar Meza-Abarca is part of a growing number of Hispanic students attending college. Since 2015, Motlow State’s Hispanic student population has almost tripled, and nationally the number of Hispanic students has more than doubled since 2000.

Oscar moved to Lincoln County from Huntsville with his family after his freshman year in high school. After graduating from Lincoln County High School in 2019, he became the first member of his family to attend college when he enrolled at Motlow’s Fayetteville campus in Fall 2019.

Now Oscar is a Dean’s List student on a path to graduate Motlow with an associate degree in mathematics in May 2021. He plans to transfer to MTSU and earn a bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education in Mathematics and become a teacher. He believes his Hispanic heritage has played a significant role in his success.

“When I was growing up, I had to speak Spanish at home and English at school,” said Oscar. “My parents, who migrated to the United States in 1998, can understand a little bit of English, but they can’t speak it. I have been their translator most of my life, and that role has helped me to become a people person and a better communicator.”

As a first-generation college student, Oscar dealt with educational adversity because his parents didn’t know much about college. They couldn’t answer his questions about college. “Part of my motivation for completing my education is to be able to help my younger brother complete his,” Oscar adds.

He was born in Utah and moved with his family to the Huntsville-Madison area in 2004. His parents immigrated to the United States in 1998. Oscar recently started working as an Educational Assistant at a local elementary school, a significant step for him into the education profession. He assists with students from Pre-K to 4th grade.

“Being Hispanic is something I cherish,” Oscar continued. “The Hispanic community where I live is tiny and everyone knows each other. My time as a translator and my ability to communicate through multiple languages enable me to contribute to Hispanic and non-Hispanic communities.

“I always encourage people to go to Motlow for the first two years of college. My experience is that Motlow faculty and staff care about the future of their students and will show you the correct steps to help you achieve your education goals.” •

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Lynchburg, Tennessee. We cover Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

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