November 29, 2016
Gabriella Flores: For the First
“I was standing on Biola’s campus and laying down all of the lies that I was telling myself — that I was not good enough, not smart enough, that I couldn’t do it.”
Gabriella, a freshman Christian Ministries major, smiles as she tells the story of her journey to Biola. As a first generation student and the first Christian in her family, her journey to college was not easy. She wrestled with an important question: Could she afford to go a school that would provide her the means to build a career, while also growing in her faith?
About $4,000 stood in the way of Gabriella attending Biola. But to her, $4,000 seemed like an insurmountable obstacle.
"My parents do not have the means to help me pay for college. I spent every day over summer calling financial aid and asking for ways to close the gap.” Gabriella was planning to save for a car and a laptop for school, but she knew that Biola was her main priority. She pulled together all the money she could, but there was still $2,000 remaining. "I exhausted all the options that I knew about. I prayed, 'Lord, I have nothing to give. I do not know what to do.’”
Then, two friends unexpectedly provided the final $2,000 that Gabriella needed to complete her tuition payment. She beamed as she said, “This is the first time in my three years of being a Christian that God has provided in such an extravagant way. I was taken aback by the love of others, which is really the love of Christ through them poured out to me.”
She paused for a moment and added, "There are people who are in my life that He has placed there to support me, even when my family can’t.”
Today is for the first generation students like Gabriella who work hard to be at a place like Biola. Join us as we seek to make Biola more affordable for every first generation student.
Katie Watson ('11) helps keep politicians accountable through her work as an Investigative Reporter for Daily Caller.
Ira Lippke ('98) fell in love with photography at a young age. Today, he is the owner of Ira Lippke Studios in New York City and travels around the world photographing weddings.
Sean McDowell ('98, M.A. '03) is a noted author, apologist and Biola professor who is passionate about equipping young people to navigate the increasing moral and intellectual pressures of today's world.