Eladio Bobadilla first met his wife Timaree during their four-year service in the Navy. He was there to become a United States citizen, and she was there to give herself time to pick a career path.

The Bobadillas are now graduating from Weber State University after three years. They started going to WSU in 2010 after being discharged from the Navy in 2009. A GI Bill paid their tuition in full. The GI Bill is a veteran benefit that also paid for a housing stipend every month.

“We picked up some part-time jobs, but we had each other to support each other and motivate each other, and we have a really good support system even outside just the two of us,” Eladio Bobadilla said. “So it was hard, but it wasn’t impossible.”

Timaree Bobadilla said they went to WSU full-time every semester, taking 18 credits every summer as well.

“I also had a lot of professors that were really inspiring,” she said. “Their kind words or their motivational words gave me the drive and motivation to see it through and to feel like I could and should.”

Eladio Bobadilla is originally from Mexico and came to the United States when he was 11.

“It was pretty shocking, but I was so happy to be here,” Bobadilla said about first coming to the U.S. “I grew up in an adobe house in central Mexico, so just to have a decent place to live and to be in a place where people actually could fight for a future was amazing.”

He said that when he first came to the U.S., it struck him how clean everything was.

“Where I grew up was just dirty and sad,” he said. “Just seeing a clean environment was a shock to me.”

Bobadilla joined the Navy to become a citizen at 19. He said he joined because he knew he could not go to college without the veteran benefits. He said he also wanted to become a U.S. citizen. Though he lived in the U.S. from age 11, he was undocumented until he was 19. He joined the Navy as soon as he got his Green Card.

“I wanted to be as American on paper as I was the way I felt already,” he said.

Timaree Bobadilla said she joined the Navy because she did not know what career she wanted, so she thought four years in the military would buy her time to figure it out.

“I came back, and I found my niche very quickly, and I’m more happy in what I’m doing now than I thought I was ever going to be in my life,” she said.

The Bobadillas both served in San Diego while in the Navy. Eladio Bobadilla also spent eight months in Kuwait, Afghanistan and Iraq. He said Kuwait was filled with boredom, which helped him decide he wanted to go into history teaching.

“I started reading a lot, and I got into history,” he said. “I just heavily started reading book after book of history, and I knew that I wanted to teach it. Just out of sheer boredom, I started reading a lot. That’s what motivated me to get an education and apply to graduate school.”

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