49 Voices: Cece Esparza of Kodiak

Cece Esparza of Kodiak (Photo by Daysha Eaton, KMXT – Kodiak)

This week we’re hearing from Cece Esparza in Kodiak. Esparza has been a social worker all over the state and is the longest volunteer host at KMXT in Kodiak. She’s originally from California.

Listen now

ESPARZA: I left when I was 17. At that time, I had a boyfriend who had a sister who was a mother superior in Mexico City, and so I was going to go to Mexico City and be the secretary for the convent. And so, I was all set to do that and then the bishop in Mexico decided that, because I was like 19 or 20… at the time we were talking about it, that I had to live in the convent. And I said, “No way, Jose. I ‘ve not been under anyone’s thumb since I was 17.” It was very, very restrictive. And I said I can’t live like that.

I had just decided then that I was going to apply to Berkeley because I had not gone to school other than high school. And I made an application to Berkeley, when this opportunity to come to Alaska happened, so I came to Alaska.

Today is my 50th anniversary of coming to Alaska. I came to Alaska June 1, 1968. I had a one-way ticket, I had $90 to my name, I had a suitcase of clothes and I had a temporary place to stay.

In Anchorage, in those days, many of the side streets, the fronts in town, were not paved. That was before the Parks Highway opened and there was just two lanes. And that was before they cut all the trees down by Elmendorf. Because I can remember crying when I went down the road because they had chopped all the trees down to make four lanes, at that time. Now it’s six or eight lanes. But yeah. It was a long, long time ago… far, far away.

Daysha Eaton is a contributor with the Alaska Public Radio Network.

Daysha Eaton holds a B.A. from Evergreen State College, and a M.A. from the University of Southern California. Daysha got her start in radio at Seattle public radio stations, KPLU and KUOW. Before coming to KBBI, she was the News Director at KYUK in Bethel. She has also worked as the Southcentral Reporter for KSKA in Anchorage.

Daysha's work has appeared on NPR's "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered", PRI's "The World" and "National Native News". She's happy to take assignments, and to get news tips, which are best sent via email.

Daysha became a journalist because she believes in the power of storytelling. Stories connect us and they help us make sense of our world. They shed light on injustice and they comfort us in troubled times. She got into public broadcasting because it seems to fulfill the intention of the 4th Estate and to most effectively apply the freedom of the press granted to us through the Constitution. She feels that public radio has a special way of moving people emotionally through sound, taking them to remote places, introducing them to people they would not otherwise meet and compelling them to think about issues they might ordinarily overlook.

Wesley Early covers Anchorage life and city politics for Alaska Public Media. Reach him at wearly@alaskapublic.org and follow him on X at @wesley_early. Read more about Wesley here.

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