An editorial in Glamour:
Lily Eskelsen García, 60, never imagined she’d go to college. After all, her parents’ biggest goal for her and her five siblings was that they make it through high school. So when the Texas native succeeded at that, she sought to work with kids, eventually landing a job as a preschool lunch lady. “And when I say ‘lunch lady,’ I’m padding my résumé,” says the half-Panamanian with a laugh. “I was a salad girl and worked my way up to hot food.”
Eskelsen García eventually became a popular kindergarten aide, and a teacher at that school suggested she consider college—even teaching. It was a move that paid off handsomely. In 1989 she was voted Utah’s Teacher of the Year.