Graduating from high school is a special day for any Latino family, but parents rarely get to walk the stage and get a degree alongside their children.

However, Esmeralda Landa and her teenage son have proven that heart and purpose go a long way when you’ve got a dream to fulfill.

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Graduating from Lassiter High School with an Associate’s Degree in American Sign Language, they hope to reach millions of Deaf people in the United States and help others communicate with them.

“The more languages we know, the more valuable we are,” Landa told Univision in an interview. Sharing the heartfelt journey to where she is today.

Helping others communicate beyond spoken language

Esmeralda Landa and her son were able to graduate from Lassiter High School on the same day and with the same degree thanks to a special program.

Thanks to an agreement between Dallas ISD and Dallas College, students can enroll in the Early College High School program. This unique opportunity allows students to graduate with both a high school and a technical associate’s degree.

Landa, who works as an office assistant at the school was able to take online classes to make it to graduation alongside her son. The Mexican-American mom is trilingual, with fluency in Spanish, English and American Sign Language.

With her degree, she seeks to help as many people as possible connect with the Deaf community, which started during her childhood.

Family inspired Landa and her son to get a degree in ASL

According to Landa, she was first exposed to ASL as a child since one of her cousins was deaf. To help them communicate, Landa tells Univision her grandmother encouraged their family to learn English, Spanish and ASL.

Also, Landa’s husband is deaf. They started teaching their son ASL since he was an infant, saying his first sign was “milk.”

“He studied sign language because his dad is deaf,” she said. “To communicate with him we taught him every day since he was a child.”

Adding, “The more languages we know, the more valuable we are,” she told the outlet. Saying that her husband is constantly attentive to everything that is happening since his “eyes are his ears.”

Landa and her son hope to reach millions by teaching ASL

Now that she has graduated, Landa hopes to teach ASL to high school students, opening an opportunity for millions of Deaf people to communicate and integrate into society thanks to the help of language.

According to statistics, 10% of the Deaf or hard-of-hearing population in the United States lives in Texas. More than four million people communicate through ASL and approximately 15% of American adults have trouble hearing.

We can’t wait to see what this mother-and-son duo accomplish together.