[Originally published September 15, 2015]
By Repower Yolo's Storyteller, Jennifer Ann Gordon
I met Secilia Corona’s smile first. Then I met the rest of her. Behind the counter at Village Bakery on Second Street by the Amtrak station here in Davis, I was struck by the depth of kindness with which she served me and the other customers.
Having graduated from UC Davis last December with a double major in Chicano-Chicana Studies and Italian, Secilia is an eclectic blend. She is also the first generation in her family to earn a college degree. Sicilia’s dad is Mexican, her mom is Caucasian, and she has Italian in her heritage. Spanish is her first language.
“My major is a little bit random,” she said, “During my first two years of college, I thought I was going to go into biotech, but I wasn’t really passionate about it.” Taking Chem 2E, Bio 2A and Physics 7A in one semester, Secilia decided to throw in an Italian class to get a break from the heavy science classes, loved it, and soon realized, “Science is not going to be my thing.”
When she realized that she did not want to pursue biotech, she investigated Chicano-Chicana Studies, where she discovered a strong sense of community and a caring professor. Secilia said that the demands of a double major “were not a struggle because I was so interested in the topics.” She said, “Languages allow me to communicate with more people and to have rich experiences.”
During her junior year in college, Secilia had a teaching internship in Turin, Italy, for four months. Upon graduation, Secilia looked for a “serious job.” While she was job hunting, she found a house in Davis, and her two sisters, Delilah and Elsa, who are also college students, moved in. She also did not want her parents to keep supporting her, so she decided to wait on traveling and teaching Italian, and applied at Village Bakery.
“I applied at Village Bakery because I liked their food, ate there often, and bought their bread at the Farmers Market on Saturdays. Because I liked their products, I thought it would feel good selling them to others. The pastry chef is super friendly and teaches me. These people are wonderful!”
Secilia is originally from Point Arena, where her mom and dad have a landscaping company. “We’ve always had a ton of support from my parents. They were forced to grow up young and never had the opportunities they’ve given us. They’ve always supported and encouraged us. And they wanted my sisters and me to be united…unified. My family is really close.”
“There are so many people who have helped me. It is impossible to take credit for any of my accomplishments. I don’t feel like I do anything different or important. Being friendly and kind does make a difference in people’s lives. I prefer to listen, rather than speak about myself.”
Thank you, Secilia, for gracing this community with your kindness, humility and care. Thank you for listening to others so intently. Thank you for feeding us with Village Bakery’s finest fare and your smile. Thank you for being such a fine example of a young woman who knows herself and listens to that inner voice for guidance. Thank you for being so extraordinary.