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Honors Student, Activist is 2021 Commencement Speaker

Pima’s 2021 Virtual Graduation Ceremony is at 7 pm, May 19 on YouTube

Tucson, AZAcademic standout and activist Gabriella Parra has been selected as the Commencement Speaker for Pima’s 2021 virtual graduation ceremony on May 19. Meanwhile, three Pima students have been chosen as Multicultural Convocation Representatives for the ceremony.

Parra’s commencement speech will be featured during Pima’s 2021 Virtual Graduation Ceremony at 7 pm on May 19 at PimaCCVideos on YouTube. Multicultural Convocation has been integrated into this year’s ceremony because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The MCC reps are Juanito Montes De Oca, who is pursuing an Associate of Arts, Social Services Concentration degree; and, from Pima’s Class of 2021, Arthur George Masibalavu, who is receiving an Associate of Science, Pre-Engineering Concentration degree and Arizona General Education Curriculum-Science certificate; and Teresa Perez, a Mathematics major at University of Arizona who earned her Associate of Arts, Liberal Arts and Arizona General Education Curriculum-Arts certificate from Pima in summer 2020.

Gabriella Parra

Commencement speaker Parra, who is in the Honors Program and graduating with an Associate of Science Degree and Arizona General Education Curriculum-Science certificate, was selected to the 2021 All-Arizona Academic Team, which includes a two-year tuition waiver to a state university. She plans to transfer to UArizona to pursue majors in Mexian American Studies and one of its Natural Resources degrees.

She also was awarded as a Coca-Cola Academic Team Scholar and is in the Pima-UA STEM Bridge Program. The program helps Pima students transition to UArizona. 

Parra is an officer in the Alpha Beta Chi chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa national honor society, and a Student Ambassador for Pima’s Immigration and Refugee Student Resource Center.

“I am passionate about equal rights and look forward to continuing my pursuits in education and activism,” she said.

Here is more about each MCC rep:

Juanito Montes De Oca

De Oca is a licensed cosmetologist and provides cosmetology and hair services to homeless veterans in Tucson. Because of his passion for philanthropy, De Oca is pursuing his degree at Pima to become a social worker.

“I hope to become a social worker and instill hope and compassion for our community and those in need,” he said.

Arthur George Masibalavu

Masibalavu, who plans to enroll this fall at UArizona to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering, participates in the Pima-UAZ STEM Bridge Program and is doing a one-year research project with NASA-funded ASTEROIDS Laboratory through UArizona. He also tutors at the Desert Vista Campus Learning Center.

“Being a tutor helps me to expand my skills in various subjects,” he said. “I’m gaining experience in my communication skills, while helping the students achieve success.”

Teresa Perez

Perez is a first-generation college student majoring in Mathematics with an emphasis on Education at UArizona.

She wants to become a math teacher to empower the next generation of Chicanos in science, technology, engineering and math.

“I am the proud daughter and granddaughter of Mexican immigrants and farmworkers and am a vocal advocate for Chicanx liberation, immigration and education justice,” said Perez, who works in Pima’s Immigration and Refugee Student Resource Center.
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