Celebration EOPS, Calworks and Guardian Scholars The EOPS/CARE, CalWORKs and Guardian Scholars Programs held their end of the year celebration on Wednesday, May 15, with over 90 guests in attendance. It was a festive event as the programs honored 138 students who completed 37 certificates and 174 degrees this academic year.

Highlights of the celebration included the overall gathering as a community, presenting graduation stoles and certificates to the 35 program graduates who were present, honoring faculty member, Imelda Hermosillo, for 25 years of EOPS counseling and having EOPS alumni David Martinez as a guest speaker.

David Martinez, a former EOPS student and ambassador at Skyline College, shared with attendees his story of grit and perseverance in the face of adversity. At the young age of 13, David was initiated in a gang and early on decided that school wasn’t for him. He completed high school with a 1.9 GPA and attended Skyline College briefly, earning a 1.1 GPA before deciding not to return. He credits his parents for encouraging him to continue with college, but didn’t decide to return until he was 30 years old.

At that time, with a new perspective, David decided to make the most of this second attempt at college. He got involved with student government, and he credits programs such as EOPS and TRiO for supporting him financially and academically and encouraging him to consider transfer universities. Soon he was on the Dean’s list and applying for transfer to UCs – getting accepted to UC Riverside for Business Economics.

At UCR, he continued his involvement with student leadership organizations, which ultimately allowed him to build his network and attend professional development opportunities in LA County and even obtain internships.

He described how his motivation would push him to wake up at 4:00 a.m. to catch a 5:00 a.m. three-hour train ride to USC for such opportunities, and it paid off. He was encouraged to apply to USC, and has recently completed his Masters Degree in Business Taxation from USC. He has returned to the Bay Area and will begin a new job with PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLC, also known as “PwC”, a leading global accounting firm, this July.

We thank David for sharing his narrative with our students as it serves as an inspiring and tangible source of motivation for all of us. Thank you to all who attended and supported the success of our EOPS/CARE, CalWORKs and Guardian Scholars students.

We look forward to more celebrations as EOPS prepares to commemorate 50 years within the state of California next academic year. EOPS is currently accepting applications for the 2019-2020 school year. For more information, please email skyeops@smccd.edu.

Article and Photo by Melanie Espinueva+Aure

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