Sunday, April 19, 2015

Please Welcome Special Guest Doris Vaglienty

Andiamo! - Let’s go!

By Doris Vaglienty

I often wonder what inspired my grandparents to emigrate from their respective countries and embark upon a journey to start a new life in this country. What motivated them to seek the unknown? Likely, an internal question served as a trigger for a call to action, a goal was visualized then the ganas, or passione, fueled a solution. These words deeply resonated in my daily life as an adolescent. My grandparents’ experiences, a motivating force, flowed through my veins and as a result, part of my destiny has been to “travel afar.” I’ve traveled in a literal sense; however, it is through reading and an education that I have been able to open doors to other worlds. Hence, my first significant journey and new chapter in my life didn’t start when I attended the university; it began in high school when I discovered the power of reading.

Truly, my journey began before high school and was fraught by socio-economic inequity. The idea of attending a university was inconceivable on a social level, given that I was a first-generation as well as a first-born female in my family; and economically, my parents didn’t have the resources. Therefore, at the age of thirteen, I made a conscious decision to attend one of the largest college preparatory high schools in my hometown to set me on the path to a university. A daunting task and a grand feat all on its own, I managed to pay my way and quickly learned the value of money and hard work at an early age.

During this period of my life, I seriously took to prepare in high school for the university. With books in tow, under sweet balmy breezy Orange County mornings, I recall walking a mile and a half a day to and from school in my only pair of tennis shoes. By walking the distance, this routine allowed me to reflect. Upon arrival, students in uniform, college prep courses, service, and learning were de rigeur. READING, I came to know, was pivotal and life changing.

Reading unlocked the door to other cultures, values, and perspectives. In addition, reading opened my mind to a realm of possibilities. Anything was attainable. Core subjects together with foreign language, art, and music (in elementary), shaped my creativity. Yet, what I vividly remember is sitting in English class with my own one-inch-thick hardcover white grammar book accompanied by my literature books. Lectures were engaging and as my pen glided ever so effortlessly as I took notes in shorthand, I felt proud. In turn, writing was an “end to the means.” Early on, I quickly recognized that the way to traverse oceans and engage in new worlds in my non-fictional life was to exert myself in my studies. I was focused, always looking toward the university; it was waiting for me—I had a goal and a dream.

Despite being accepted to UCLA, the opportunity never came to fruition, given I had no means of transportation and I could not conceive of living in dorms so far away from home. The solution was to attend the local college for the next two years. I then transferred to Cal State University of Long Beach. My routine for the following years consisted of riding buses daily for almost two hours each way. On the bus I read, studied, completed my homework, and gazed out the window, imagining. I walked to work, and then, finally, walked home. Put into perspective, there was simply not any time for distraction. In retrospect, my journey through high school and the university required, above all, discipline.

Many years have gone by; however, I continue to foster my passions: travel, reading, and life long learning integrated into one. Coachella, a distant place from home, has allowed me to put into practice the irreplaceable knowledge acquired through my many travels. Reading is still part of my life. Now, I slowly work my way through the labyrinths of libraries and book festivals, allowing my fingers to select a book for my next trip. Today, I teach AP Spanish Literature and Culture, my journey has not ended…vamos, are you ready to “write” a journey of your own?

Doris Vaglienty holds two Master’s Degrees: one in Spanish Peninsular Literature and the other in Education. She has managed her own translation and interpretation business, taught at College of the Desert, studied in Spain, and studied art in Italy. She has two beautiful daughters and on occasion she spends her summers abroad. She teaches literacy and strives for her students to fully reach their potential.



  1. It's too bad you missed out on the chance on attending ucla, but it sounds like you were able to find success regardless, through a lot of hard work and discipline. It's nice to learn a little bit about you, who I've heard so much about from the AP students who have been taking your class.

  2. Your story is inspiring. I remember being in your class, and you speaking of the times that you travelled. It honestly impacted my mindset immensely when you expressed how happy you are with your job. It's not that common to find people like you who put in dedication into their job and are genuinely content with it. You are an amazing teacher Mrs. Vaglienty and thank you for sharing!

  3. Mrs.Vaglienty I do not recall ever telling you this, but you are on of my biggest role models and I owe a major part of who I am today to you. Coming in as a freshmen the first person I even heard talk about AP classes was you. I remember not knowing what these courses could offer me and much less did I believe I had the potential to succeed in them. You, on the other hand, believed in me and you saw what I was capable of doing. I am grateful to have had you as a teacher/mentor. You taught me the importance of reading and you gave me skills that have made me succeed in high school, such as discipline and time management. I remember you giving us a speech in class about how hard it was for you to go to a university and I connected with your story because I find myself in the same situation. Thank you for sharing your story because many students, like myself, see hope in our future because your story is truly inspiring. Congrats on all of your accomplishments and thank you for teaching me many of the things I know now.