Dora Alvarez-Roa was raised and educated in Wapato and comes from a migrant family. “we worked the migrant trail from Burlington to pick strawberries, Oregon to pick green beans and Idaho to top onions. Sometimes we would make it back to start school on time. “Immediate survival was our 1st priority.” When I graduated, there was no encouragement for me to continue my education. Actually, in High School, my counselors told me I was not smart enough for college, that I should go to a trade school. I believed what I was told because they were the ones in charge. At the age of thirty, I decided to go to college.
Education is the key- do not let anyone tell you that you cannot learn. I began classes in March of 1990 and in December of 1993 I completed all requirements to receive my BA in Education and a minor in Bilingual Ed. This also included my Student Teaching requirement. In Aug. of 1996, I began working on my Master’s degree and I had a full-time job teaching. I also continued taking classes. In May of 1998, I received my MA in Professional Development with a minor in School Administration. When the District terminated the successful Bilingual Program we had worked so hard to develop, I decided to stand up for the Bilingual Program, the students and community. This did not make me friends among administration, in fact, it put a target on my back. I continued to be an advocate for Bilingual Ed and went to speak to some key people in Olympia. Eventually, the District I had served for twenty years, refused to accommodate my disability and forced me to resign.
I am now the first Latina Mayor of Wapato.