But for the Dominguez family, the real miracle is their mother, Pepita Dominguez. Nineteen years ago, her husband Jose died just days after suffering a sudden brain hemorrhage. He left their five children to her care, making two specific requests: that they continue their piano lessons, and that she focus on their education.
"I suspect that even my father did not realize that he had entrusted his children to the strongest, most dedicated and loving mother on earth," Alexandria says.
Pepita Dominguez worked as many as three jobs at one time to support her children. But their memories of childhood are full of vacations in Big Bear, carefree days playing football and evenings gathered around the kitchen table to do homework together. Their mother was a constant presence.
"Growing up, we never missed her at any event, whether it was soccer games or piano recitals, because she was always there standing on the sidelines cheering," Alexandria recalls.
Her sister Janice became a teacher and her brother, Joseph, a sheriff's deputy. Scott, the first to enter the School of Law, graduated from Georgetown University as a government major. Alexandria earned her master's in psychology from the University of Maryland. And Bryan studied communications and Spanish at Boston College.
This past summer, the three Dominguez law students worked in downtown Los Angeles. Scott and Alexandria worked at law firms, and Bryan clerked for a judge.
"We are also back at home living at our childhood house on Olive Street with my mother," Alexandria says. "Once again, the house is vibrant and busy."
And Pepita Dominguez has assumed yet another role. As Alexandria explains, her tiny (5'2") mother, who has always ruled her home with a firm hand, is now busy "arbitrating legal discussions during dinner."