BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) — SUNY Buffalo State College has two unique members its graduating class of 2021.
The dynamic duo happens to be a father and daughter and both are graduating with honors.
“I think I'm more proud of her — I don't think that's an argument,” reflected Cesar Galarza, father, 2021 Buffalo State graduate.
“I’m really proud of him too,” replied Clarimar Galarza, daughter, 2021 Buffalo State graduate.
The father and daughter share a very special bond — they’re college buddies.
When Cesar, 41, decided to head back to college to earn a bachelor's degree in social work he picked Buffalo State because his daughter Clarimar, 21, was already attending for art education.
“’I’m like — ‘oh you're coming to the same college’ and then we realized how fun it was,” Clairmar Galarza commented.
Would you go to college with your dad? Meet this father-daughter team that is graduating with honors from @buffalostate @WKBW @BuffStatePrez @BuffStatePR #buffstategrads #2021graduates pic.twitter.com/nHCKJ7R8Vx— eileen buckley (@eileenwkbw) May 14, 2021
The family is from Puerto Rico, arriving in 2008. Cesar was a welder and had to learn English.
His passion is serving as pastor at a church on Buffalo's west side, so now he wants to be a social worker.
“I’m a living example that you can come late to school — you can have language barriers and if you try — and you put all your effort and you really want it that can do it,” Cesar Galarza declared.
“I got to see how he studied and how his mind works and I’m just super proud that we both we able to make it with all these honors,” his daughter replied.
Clarimar excels in art, specializing in ceramic and hopes to teach elementary art.
Her dad even taught her how to weld, so maybe the “apple doesn't fall far from the tree.”
“I think she got that from me — she's handy like me,” laughed her dad.
“Seeing her work — seeing all her ceramics, which are beautiful, that really makes me very proud,” Cesar said.
“He was one of my inspirations to be a teacher because he showed us how patient you need to be — how accepting you need to be and I never felt like I was alone,” Clarimar reflected.
Amy McMillan, director of the honors program, at Buffalo State is impressed with the father-daughter duo.
“It’s such a wonderful moment. It’s what makes me enjoy my job — it’s what makes me love my job,” McMillan remarked.
McMillan says they really worked to help each other, especially in the final stretch to graduation during the pandemic.
“I admire their resolve and the attitude they have now,” said McMillan. “You know it's really fun to see them together because I can tell how much Cesar respects and loves Clarimar and how much Clarimar respects and leaves Cesar.”
“I think it was more fun for me than for her,” Cesar remarked.
“It was very fun because we both ended with honors,” Clarimar noted.
Both already participated in a ‘stage walk’ event allowing students to take photos and congratulate each other.
But Buff State will host virtual graduation ceremony Saturday.
The father-daughter team will continue their education journey.
Cesar will be heading to the University at Buffalo to earn a graduate degree in social work and she'll continue in education for her masters degree.