WSU family attends La Bienvenida

Arreola says students must use education to help their community



Martin Arreola, an apple orchard manager, and his wife Luz talk about La Bienvenida during one of the event's dinners on Friday at Southside Cafe.

GABRIEL BRAVO, Evergreen reporter

Editor’s Note: All interviews were conducted in Spanish and translated into English by the reporter and the editor.

Martin and Luz Arreola immigrated to Vantage, WA in the mid-1980s. Originally from Chihuahua, Mexico, the family moved to Vantage after Martin’s brother invited him to work in the orchards nearby.

Before coming to the U.S. both received some education in Mexico.

Martin was a shop apprentice and Luz studied horticultural engineering. With their education, the Arreolas knew they wanted the opportunity of an education for their children.

Martin and Luz Arreola have four children; one who graduated from the University of Washington, one attending Central Washington University and two attending WSU.

Luz Arreola said she instilled in her children the importance of using their education to help the communities  around them.

Martin Arreola has worked in the same apple orchard since 1985. He credits his success and promotions to the education he’s received.

The Arreolas have worked in the fields since they arrived in the U.S., Luz Arreola said.

The Arreola family plans to stay in the U.S. until their children complete their college education. Once they’ve completed their education, Martin Arreola said he’d like to live half of the year in Mexico and the other in the states.

This was the first time the Arreolas attended WSU’s La Bienvenida orientation for Spanish speaking parents and students. The family had previously attended parent orientation sessions in English, but still had questions and doubts about universities.

The 12th annual “La Bienvenida” orientation in Spanish welcomed over 80 families.

No other university parent orientation compares to La Bienvenida, Luz Arreola said.

“Because we don’t know English well, we can’t ask the questions we have,” Luz Arreola said. “You’re like ‘what if they laugh’ and so you don’t.”

Luz Arreola said they felt happy after attending La Bienvenida because they know more about the university and how they can help their students.

“I feel content because I know more about the school, how I can help my kids” Martin Arreola said. “I liked how they treated us, the information they gave us and most of all because it was in my language.”

La Bienvenida taught the Arreolas about university finances, resources and the academic school year. It also created a sense of belonging and comfort. They said the sense of belonging came after the family toured the Chicanx Latinx Student Center.

“I liked how the school has different cultural [student centers] like for Latinos and African-Americans,” Martin Arreola said. “I like how the school gives the opportunity for students to instill and keep in touch with their culture.”

Education allows students to gain life skills outside their career, like communication to become a contributing citizen, Martin Arreola said.

“With the little education you have, doors begin to open,” Martin Arreola said. “Not just in the career you study but outside. You learn how to be a better person, friendly and professional.”