Musical passion grows into career for first-gen grad

· 2 min read

Musical passion grows into career for first-gen grad

Aracely Acosta, a summer 2022 graduate, poses with her saxophone and an "I'm a Husker and..." sign while standing on the turf in Memorial Stadium.
Avni Srivastav | University Communication and Marketing
Nebraska's Aracely Acosta will receive her degree during commencement exercises on Aug. 13. She is a first-generation college graduate and will be teaching at a Title I school in Lincoln this fall.

To be the first in her family to graduate is an accomplishment that Aracely Acosta— a Lincolnite and soon-to-be Husker alumna — holds close to her heart.

Acosta joined the university as an introverted music education major with a love for playing the saxophone. Though she faced adversity as a first-gen student, she never strayed from the goal of expanding her music skills or from a passion for playing in the Cornhusker Marching Band, which took her to different states, taught her discipline through everyday rehearsals and connected her to some of her closest friends.

“My favorite memories from college are playing with my best friends at Memorial Stadium,” Acosta said. “I’d only been to one game before joining and being on the field is shocking. Even though there are 300 of us, it feels like everyone is looking at you. It’s very cool to see.”

Outside of playing in the “Pride of All Nebraska,” Acosta grew her passion for music education in the classroom and pursued her high school dream of teaching. After receiving her degree on Aug. 13, she’s looking forward to the next step in her career path — showing the next generation the power of music.

“It’s proven that we do better academically when we are involved in music and music programs. It’s also stimulating to be a part of something like music where everyone can be a part of a team and perform live,” Acosta said.

She hopes to use her experiences as a first-gen graduate from an immigrant family to inspire students that, regardless of where they may start, they too can attend college and accomplish things that seem unattainable.

“I’m working at a Title I school and diversity is high, and I love that because I’m a person of color and I hope to impact young kids of color,” Acosta said. “I want them to know that they can be whatever they want to be, whether that’s a music teacher or anything else.”

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