Juan Luis Romero Alva
When Eunice Romero graduated from De Anza College in 2018, she was proud to be the first woman in her family to attend college. But Romero’s mother and biggest supporter, 43-year-old Yaneth Gutierrez, wasn’t cheering from the crowd — she was alongside Romero, graduating too.
Romero said she would never forget that day.
“Not a lot of people can look back and say they walked the stage with their mom,” Romero said. “It was an extremely unique and special experience.”
Gutierrez, now 46, did not have a typical educational journey.
After graduating high school in Mexico, she paused her aspirations in 2005 to look after her family. To get back into school years later, she had to redo high school in America.
“I wasn’t sure if I was ready,” Gutierrez said. “Should I do it? Should I not? I was going back and forth.”
Eventually, Gutierrez made the leap — not only for herself, but also for her peers.
“It was about setting an example for my daughter and for all women across the country,” Gutierrez said. “It’s never too late to pursue something you want to accomplish.”
After graduating from De Anza, Gutierrez and Romero both enrolled in San Jose State University and recently earned the special designation of Dean’s List Scholars, awarded to students earning a 3.65 GPA or higher.
Romero, on track to graduate with a Bachelor’s of Science in business administration next year, said she hopes to take over her father’s welding business, YES Welding. She credits her mom for serving as an inspiration and embodiment of hard work.
“My mom doesn’t just go to school — she’s always balancing multiple jobs as well,” Romero said. “At a restaurant, at multiple nonprofits, and of course, being a full time mother. She’s incredible.”
Gutierrez herself is on track to graduate with a Bachelor’s of Science in political science and hopes to have a career in law, either as a lawyer or at a non-profit that represents underserved communities.
“To me, giving back to my community regardless of who they are, where they’re coming from, or what color their skin is, is the most important,” Gutierrez said. “When a community helps each other, we can build great things.”
Gutierrez’s husband and Romero’s father, Juan Luis Romero Alva, said he has the utmost respect for the women in his family.
“They’re always pushing each other to get better, always inspiring each other to reach new goals,” Alva said. “I’m extremely proud.”