By Don Ford

SANTA ROSA (KPIX 5) — The first-born child of Mexican immigrants from Santa Rosa has become the first person in her family to graduate from high school, on the same day her father become the second person.

Ana Solano received her diploma from Piner High School in Santa Rosa this week. Her father, Rafael, who emigrated from Jalisco, Mexico with his wife Martha 30 years ago, received his GED after taking classes at Santa Rosa Junior College last year.

Gathered in their living room to watch the virtual graduation, it was quite a celebration at the Solano family home.

“Yeah, and I never really imagined that his first-born daughter would be, like, both of us graduating at the same time” exclaimed Ana Solano.

As Rafael Solano stood proudly with his daughter and wife holding his new diploma, Ana celebrated her dad’s never-give-up spirit and her mom’s devotion to education with a special message on her graduation cap, decorated in the colors of the Mexican flag.

“It says, ‘Decendiente de padres Mexicanos. Ellos me enseñaron que los sueños se hacen realidad,’ … which is “Descendant of Mexican parents. They taught me that my dreams, or any dreams, can come true,” Ana said.

Rafael was modest about his new diploma. He preferred to talk about his daughter. “It was a fun day. We had a little barbecue before we sat down to watch the video on TV of all the graduates from Piner High School,” he said.

Afterward, there was a street celebration that was anything but modest. A parade of cars passed by their home honking, some with signs congratulating them both on a job well done.

The American dream is still alive in Santa Rosa.

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