Anna Ocegueda is the first in her family to earn a college degree and her moving social media tribute touched hearts across the country.

Graduation Ceremony Hats and Diplomas Thrown in Air
Credit: fotoinfot/Shutterstock

May 20, 2019

Twenty-two year old Anna Ocegueda is the daughter of migrant workers from Mexico and the first in her family to earn a four-year college degree. And she credits her parents for giving her the opportunity to study at the University of California Merced, tweeting a photo with them as a tribute to their efforts.

"Por Ustedes y Para Ustedes," she captioned the family photo. It shows a proud trio: Ocegueda in her graduation cap and her mother and father in their work clothes in fields where they pick fruit. The tweet's caption translates to "Because of you and for you."

Before it became a viral sensation, the photo was originally part of an assignment for a global arts studies class, illustrating a political issue. The photo was an intentional juxtaposition to highlight her parents' hard work—25 years of migrant farm work picking oranges and grapes—to give her more opportunities than they had, Ocegueda told NBC News.

“My parents came here for a better future and a better life for their children,” she told The Sacramento Bee. “The educational opportunities weren’t great. My parents encouraged me to better my education so I wouldn’t have to work in the fields like them.”

“Knowing they’re out there working in the hot sun kept me going and doing it for them,” Ocegueda also told NBC News.

The tweet has received more than 4,600 retweets and 18,000 likes since it was posted at the beginning of May, with some people reaching out to share personal stories.

“A few of the comments made me cry,” she told The Sacramento Bee. “There were people who said that picture hit home because their parents are also undocumented and work in the field. I had strangers telling me they were so proud of me.”

Ocegueda received a bachelor's degree in psychology with a minor in Spanish and plans to use her skills with kids with autism in the San Francisco Bay Area.