MEDIA ALERT! SAT. 5/17/2014
2014 Mesa College Commencement Exercises
Contact Lina Heil, 619-388-2759; on cell day-of 619-302-5380
COMMENCEMENT FACTS: Mesa College’s 50th graduating class is comprised of 1,384 students who will receive 1,085 academic degrees and 312 certificates. 31 students will graduate with two or more degrees and 424 graduate with honors (degrees and certificates). The class of 2014 includes 49 valedictorians who achieved the rare and perfect grade point average of 4.0. Among the largest community colleges in California and the nation, San Diego Mesa College was named in 2012 as the fastest-growing community college in California, and the seventh fastest-growing in the nation by Community College Week.
2014 Distinguished Alumni being honored are Mesa alumni Carlos and Linda LeGerrette (Class of ’69). As students at Mesa in the mid-1960s, Carlos and Linda started a student club that would later become MEChA. As a young married couple, they joined Cesar Chavez in fighting for the rights of farmworkers. Inspired to engage the next generation in civic participation, in 2001, they founded the Cesar Chavez Service Clubs. The organization has grown from a single club at one school to 38 clubs in 17 schools in San Diego Unified School District. In March, the LeGerrettes were honored with the U-T San Diego Latino Champions Lifetime Achievement Award.
Student speaker is Thomas R. Bloom. Tom graduates with high honors, and with three degrees and a certificate: an AA in Mathematics, an AA in Liberal Arts and Sciences, and an AS and CA in Physics. Tom has advocated for students as a senator in Associated Students Government, and is a member of the Honors Club, Phi Theta Kappa, and the Robotics Club. The former Marine Corps sergeant served as treasurer of the Mesa College Student Veterans Organization, and he is one of the founders of the Veterans Resource Center. He has logged in nearly 200 hours as a volunteer math and science tutor in the Academic Skills Center.
Sarah Farmer, Student Honoree · (Poway 92064)
In April 7, only 20 students -- selected from 1,700 students nominated by more than 800 community colleges -- were named to the All-USA Community College Academic Team. Sarah Farmer, 21, of Poway, was one of the 20. Earlier that week, Sarah was named to the All-California Academic Team. As the top scorer in the state, Farmer earned the title of 2014 Coca-Cola New Century Scholar. With a 3.95 grade point average, the psychology major’s academic success is matched by her involvement in student affairs and community service.
Sarah’s Story (in her own words): Ambitions, goals, dreams--before I attended San Diego Mesa College I had none of these. Hospitals and pain were all I could foresee in my future thanks to the ongoing struggle I have had with Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome and Bipolar Disorder. It is thanks to my time here at Mesa that I have found success and thrived on a college campus. Without the tireless efforts of the faculty, staff, and administrators who have encouraged me to do my best since day one, I would not be where I am today. It is thanks to Mesa and all it has to offer that I have rekindled my passion for learning and my desire to achieve a higher education.
OTHER STUDENT STORIES (in their own words)
Stephanie Alexander · (San Diego 92110)
Story: I came to San Diego with $500 in my pocket, and a dream to earn a Bachelor's degree in Nursing. Three years later, I am about to receive my Associate's in Biology, am on track to earning a Master's degree in Nursing, and have maintained a 4.0 GPA while working to fully support myself. This journey has been a daily struggle to keep my eyes on my goals and dreams. Reaching this first landmark is a huge accomplishment for me, and fills me with more determination than ever to not quit before I've finished grad school.
Anthony Malevich · (San Diego 92111)
Story: In the fall of 2012, I found myself without a Job and was homeless, when I made the biggest decision of my life to return back to school and obtain a degree in Hotel Management. Thanks to my loving grandmother as well as my extended family at Mesa College and all of its support staff and their caring support and reassurance that everything would turn around for me. I am here today to let the doubters and non-believers in me know that I can achieve success.
Jorge Mancillas · (San Diego 92111)
Story: When I started at Mesa College I took school lightly and as a part-time endeavor. I expected nothing else other than to please my family and occupy my time. As I began to make academic achievements I realized that I was not only advancing academically but that I was also growing as a person. School became interesting and I discovered that I had the potential to be a good student. My identity has changed in a positive way. I'm learning to become a critical thinker and hopeful for the future and the doors that I've opened through education.
Jennifer Cooper · (Poway 92064)
Story: When I was married, I was a stay-at-home mom that worked as a hairdresser part-time. After my divorce, I worked three jobs to support my two girls. Knowing this wasn't the life I wanted for my family, I chose to go back to school and signed up for the HEIT (Health Information Technology Assistant) program. These past three years I have gone to school full-time while working part-time and caring for my two daughters. The hardest part has been not having the time I used to with my girls. I can only hope when they get older they will realize I did all this for them.
Errold Elad · (San Diego 92126)
Story: I am an immigrant from the Philippines and I was 18 when I moved here in the US. I worked fulltime when I enrolled in college. It was hard. I almost stopped attending school when I failed few of my courses back in 2012. I had no money. I don't know how I did it but I am graduating now with an AS degree in Computer Business Technology after getting my first certificate in Information Management Technology with Honors from Mesa last December 2013. I am currently a senior at Arizona State University and majoring in Anthropology and minor in Sociology and my expected graduation date is this coming fall 2014.
Catherine Luna · (San Diego 92122)
Story: I'm a person who got injured at work and was not able to continue my line of work. I had to go to college but had to start below college level. I had a lot struggles and got assistance from Mesa College programs such as EOPS, and STAR TRIO. They supported me and kept me on track. I honestly never thought I would get my two degrees, but I see the light at the end of the tunnel and my future looks bright.
(NOTE: more stories, including exclusives, are available.)