Alumni Success Update: Triumphing with True Grit

Meet Viridiana “Vivian” Fajardo, admissions and administration coordinator for CRSM. A member of the Class of 2010, she recently graduated Summa Cum Laude and was the Valedictorian from Robert Morris College with a degree in Business Management.

“We talk about grit a lot here, but today we have a shining example from our own school who worked incredibly hard,” Principal Mike Odiotti told students, faculty and staff gathered at Friday’s assembly. “Here, I will let Vivian tell her own story.”

Good Morning Everyone,

For those who do not know me, I am Viridiana Fajardo I work at the Admissions office here on campus. I recently graduated from Robert Morris University with a degree in Business Management.

Since I was younger, I have always had the desire and motivation to become someone in life. For me to be someone in life was to follow my dreams and not give up when things got a little rough. With that being said, I graduated from CRSM back in 2010. I continued my education at the College of Lake County with an undeclared major and obtained my associates. Then I went on to Lincoln College of Technology where I received my certification as a medical assistant.

But in the background, there was a big challenge lurking. Like many DACA students, I was placed in a similar situation. I was brought into United States at such an early age. As an undocumented student, trying to pursue a higher education, things were not simple.

At that time things became very complex. I didn’t qualify for any financial aid or grants due to my legal status.

It seemed like such a roadblock, but I was determined to not let it stop me. I had to work extra hard not only to pay off my college education, but also pay for immigration to legalize me in this country. I’m not going to stand here and lie and say that working a full-time job, part time job, planning a wedding and going to school in the evenings was easy because it wasn’t, but my motivation was high because I knew that if I set my mind to it I could accomplish anything.

I had numerous sleepless nights, having to stay up to finish homework and study for exams was not easy. And guess what? I managed to graduate with a 4.0 G.P.A Summa Cum Laude. So if I can do it, so can you.

In life there are sacrifices one must take to get to where you want. Mine was not giving up in school and setting an example for my younger siblings. As the oldest of five, I knew I had to be a role model for them. I wanted them to follow my footsteps.

I want to take the time to thank CRSM and my family for believing in me. My journey has not been a simple one, I have had several falls, but I’ve managed to get myself back up and finish stronger. I am proud to be part of this CRSM community, I knew that after all, all I wanted to do was to give back to the community that helped me become the person I am now. And here I am. Standing before you. I am honored and grateful to everyone here who stood behind me, supported me and cheered me on along the way.

What I wish for all of you, is to know you can do whatever you set your minds to. If I could do it, so can you. Current seniors when you feel that you have no one to guide you when you begin your new journey after graduation, remember here at CRSM we are a family and we are here for the long run!

And to finish this off here is a motivational quote: “The strongest factor for success is self-esteem: Believing you can do it, believing you deserve it, believing you will get it.”

Thank you.