Student Spotlight: Archie Matta, First-Generation College Student
In high school, I was so busy trying to get into college that I never had time to get my driver’s license. I joined clubs, extracurricular activities and any program that promised to help me with the college process.
My parents put a lot of pressure on me to succeed. My mom, an aspiring nurse, never finished college. My dad never completed his engineering program. In hopes of a better life, my parents moved our family from Philippines to Guam when I was 7 years old.
They worked hard to make ends meet. When my older brother chose not to attend college, I realized that I was their next hope of having a college graduate in the family.
I was determined to make it happen. The teachers at my public high school noticed my efforts, and I was inducted into the National Honor Society. By then, I had been an active member of three other organizations.
Some thought I spread myself too thin, but I did not want to leave room for failure. During my final year of high school, Upward Bound started helping me with the college application process. I filled out the FAFSA and applied for scholarships. I researched colleges that matched my interests. Through the Upward Bound program, I realized I had options.
All of my hard work paid off when, in May 2013, I graduated valedictorian of my high school class. It was an exciting moment in my life. Not only was I graduating at the top of my class, but I finally made a college decision.
I chose the University of Guam because it was close to home. I wanted to stay close to my family and watch my one-year-old sister grow up.
That summer, I got even more exciting news. Because of my high school achievements, the University of Guam awarded me the Merit Scholarship— a full‑ride through an accredited college. On top of that, I was awarded scholarships from First Hawaiian Bank and Core Tech Foundation, Inc. The generous scholarships lifted a heavy financial burden off my back.
Now that I am in college, I am exploring my interests. I am currently pursuing a degree in Psychology, but my passion for art might lead me to a master’s in Architecture. I already have a name for my firm: “Archietect & Co.” But before I jump ahead on the goal list, first things first: learning how to drive.