Celebrate the Class of 2020

Los Angeles Southwest College is so proud of all of our Class of 2020 graduates who will be participating in the Virtual Recognition Ceremony on Tuesday, June 9, 2020. 

Learn more about some of these special graduates, their experiences, who supported them, and what's next in their journey by clicking their name or photo.*

Congrats graduates!


AlondraRagina

DavonDavon

DejonDejon

Gilberto GradGilberto

Herminia GradHerminia

Jonell GradJonell

Khadijah ValerieKhadijah

Extended Opportunity Programs and Services (EOPS) LaTera

MariahMariah

Mary GradMary

Michelle GradMichelle

Myriam GradMyriam

SansanSansan

SaulSaul

TajaTaja

TumaraTumara

EssieEssie

RikayaRikaya

SatoriaSatoria

FrancelliFranceli

AlondraAlondra

AlondraJoanne

De LisaDe' Lisa

LateraMerveille

GabrielGabriel

LateraLatera

IysisIysis

EmekaEmeka

TamikoTamiko

StarquitaStarquita

TawanaTawana

PabloPablo

 

 

Ragina Earls

Degree you earned at LASC: Early Childhood Education

Tell us about your journey to graduation? After having to stop and start because I had two kids during my time in college as well as my father dying two years ago, my journey through college has been tough but I kept going because I know my dad is smiling down on me and how happy that I made him. Daddy, I did it for you, keep watching over me.

Who were your biggest supporters at LASC and in your personal life? My biggest supporter would have to be CalWORKs counselor Dr. Ronald Hayes. He would always check up on me and encourage me to continue in my studies and, for that, I will always be appreciative.

What's next for you? I plan on transferring to Cal State Dominquez Hills in the fall and working on my B.A. in Child Development.

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Davon Crenshaw

Degrees you earned at LASC: Social and Behavioral Sciences, Liberal Studies (Teacher Prep), and Sociology

Tell us about your journey to graduation? The only thing I can say about my journey to graduation is that it was tough. I've been to jail three times, I lost my partner, and I even have been broke and not knowing how I was going to make it, and I'm here now!

Who were your biggest supporters at LASC and in your personal life? There were six educators who made the biggest impact on my endeavor: Dr. Bohn in English 103, Dr. Embry in Psychology 1, Professors Lord and Oswald in Biology 3, Professor English in Sociology 1 and Professor Harris in Sociology 7. The hugest support in my personal life was Jesus Christ and his Father - our Lord.

What's next for you? I'll be continuing my education in order to get my four-year degree in Sociology at Grambling State University.

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Dejon Lenard

Degree you earned at LASC: Theater

Tell us about your journey to graduation: I had to overcome failing classes back to back that I didn’t understand or had the knowledge to complete when I first started at Southwest, but luckily some awesome and helpful tutors helped me complete the classes.

Who were your biggest supporters at LASC and in your personal life?  Tutor Joe Simmons, Counselor Dr. Ward, Professor JP Evans, and Professor Edward Hector, who is the best math teacher. And also everybody in the Veterans Resource Center and Associated Students Organization. 

What's next for you? I plan on transferring to Cal State Dominguez Hills or going to an emergency medical technician school.

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Gilberto Padilla 

Degree you earned at LASC: Sociology

Tell us about your journey to graduation: I started the semester with few challenges, one finding out that I have only one semester to complete all my generals and Associate of Arts for Transfer classes in order to graduate and transfer. This put me in a bind and I had to take 18 units and attend three campuses: Southwest, Harbor, and East Los Angeles colleges.

Who were your biggest supporters at LASC and in your personal life? I have to thank Professors Jones, White and Wright, as well as my counselor Dr. Wilson. They have challenged me to be factual and knowledgeable on my tasks. Also my family, my mom, and kids who have been there all the time with me on this journey. 

What's next for you? In 2021, I will be moving forward to go to either to Cal State Los Angeles or Cal State Long Beach. In the meantime, I will continue into another Associate of Science for Transfer Degree such as Psychology or Administration of Justice

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Herminia Galvez

Degree you earned at LASC: Liberal Studies (Teacher Prep)

Tell us about your journey to graduation: I’ve overcome many obstacles while earning my Associate and Arts degree. I have had moments of doubt and fear, but I have never given up. The hardest obstacle I have had to deal with was the toll my addiction has taken on me. I had to overcome drug addiction and the sequels it leaves behind. When I decided to go back to school, I was 26 years old and pregnant with my first child. During the past 10 years, I have worked hard to go to school while also becoming a mother of two and having to support my children. During these years, I have shown resilience, by getting up every single time I’ve fallen. I never gave up, while working full time and having children. I have made it to my dream to graduate one day. In the process of all of it, I lost my mother tragically in 2017. I had to overcome more obstacles while dealing with depression and grief, but I continue to strive to make my mother proud although she would not be here to see it. I allowed nothing to stop me from my dreams. However, my determination has led me to where I am today.

Who were your biggest supporters at LASC and in your personal life? I did have a few persons that help me remain strong through it all and I would love to thank Ms. Haynes from Psychology 37 and Ms. Tucker from the Counseling Office.

What's next for you? My dreams don't stop here. I  got accepted to the University of California, Riverside; University of California, Santa Barbara; Cal State Los Angeles; and Cal State Dominguez Hills. Although I'm still undecided about where to attend, I know that my dream is to create a nonprofit to help women struggling with drug addiction, mental health, and grief.

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Jonell Bowers

Degree you earned at LASC: Sociology

Tell us about your journey to graduation: I am 27 years old with a seven-year-old. At a young age, I abandoned school and put it off for so long. I attended three different junior colleges and still did not finish. For the past two years, I’ve watched my mom be a student and a full-time worker and I told myself 'If she can do it, I can.' She has been my very best inspiration to help me reach my goals. It took me two semesters and I am finally done with this chapter of my life.

Who were your biggest supporters at LASC and in your personal life? Both Dr. Roberts and Dr. Jones have been my biggest supporters at LASC. These two are truly a blessing even if they didn’t know. (They) are very much appreciated by us all. I also want to thank Mr. Wilson in Counseling 17. I feel without him I would be so confused because he lays out the plan for you to be a successful student.

What's next for you? I will be transferring to Cal State Dominguez Hills in Spring 2021 to continue my learning journey and become successful in my field of work.

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Khadijah Valerie

Degree you earned at LASC: Child Development

Tell us about your journey to graduation: "The game is gonna test you, never fold. Stay ten toes down. It's not on you, it's in you and what's in you, they cannot take away." ... Nipsey Hussle

Who were your biggest supporters at LASC and in your personal life? Myself, God, family, and my grandmother

What's next for you? I will become a business owner.

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LaTera Goodstin

Degree you earned at LASC: Mathematics

Tell us about your journey to graduation: I was 18 years old and having trouble with my classes after my grandmother passed away before even starting college. My outcome is I’m graduating at 23 with confidence. I got accepted to three out of four colleges I applied to, which is a gift.

Who were your biggest supporters at LASC and in your personal life? My supporters were mostly Dr. Jones and Dr. Salas. They helped me (figure out) the right things to do for myself. I am so glad to be able to have a good mindset and continue my dream.

What's next for you? I’m transferring to Cal State Los Angeles this fall. It’s local and a breath of fresh air.

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Mariah Stinson

Degrees you earned at LASC: Liberal Studies, Social and Behavioral Sciences Liberal Arts-Child Development, and Early Childhood Education

Who were your biggest supporters at LASC and in your personal life? During my journey at LASC, I had a group of professors that supported me along the way. I would like to especially thank my Child Development professors Ms. Dawn Robinson, Ms. Gail Amos, and Ms. Lashawn Brinson. They each inspired, encouraged, and motivated me along my journey, all in their own special way. 

What's next for you? I will be transferring to Cal State Dominguez Hills in the fall. I want to pursue my bachelor's degree and then open my own family child care center.

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Mary Binns

Degrees you earned at LASC: Social and Behavioral Sciences and Administration of Justice

Tell us about your journey to graduation? I had to overcome a lot in order to make it to this moment. The odds were always stacked against me but my mission was to show myself and others that I was better than that and could overcome whatever obstacles were put before me. I determine how far I get and when my journey is over. I had to overcome not feeling good enough and realize I do deserve to be great. I was determined to win and in the end, I won.

Who were your biggest supporters at LASC and in your personal life? The biggest help to me at Southwest was Professor Mr. Wilson and Professor Mr. Cosby as well as my favorite English teacher Professor Chase. These are such great people. My other biggest supporters would be my children and the many people who have known me for years and see my change. 

What's next for you? I plan to transfer to Cal State Dominguez Hills and continue my education in Administration of Justice. My desire is to work in the probation field or social work. My plan is to help others and help build a safer community for all.

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Michelle Thompson

Degree you earned at LASC: Psychology

Tell us about your journey to graduation: The biggest obstacle I had to overcome was believing in myself. This journey has been a long time coming for me. Even when others could see my ability I doubted myself. I have to first thank God, with faith I gain power. Then my mother who planted that seed of faith in me growing up. Then my stepmom, God rest her soul, who planted a seed of gaining knowledge in me when I was young. Feeling as if I failed so many times in life, I finally feel like I have done something to change my life. I got my high school diploma last year and this year I am getting my degree. I just want to thank my church family for watering my seed of faith. Also, thanks to the professors and staff at Southwest College for watering that seed of knowledge and my family and friends for encouraging me. I also want to thank my daughter who is following in my footsteps that makes me feel even prouder. Congratulations Class of 2020 we did it.

Who were your biggest supporters at LASC and in your personal life? My stepmom and my daughter.

What's next for you? I plan to obtain a career and live a happy life. Believing that all things are possible.

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Myriam  Steptoe

Degrees you earned at LASC: Social and Behavioral Sciences and Anthropology

Tell us about your journey to graduation: My path in life hasn’t always been a clear one. As a young girl, I made some foolish decisions. It was only as I matured in wisdom did I choose to go to college and pursue my education in Anthropology. Studying hard and staying focus is what led my path.

Who were your biggest supporters at LASC and in your personal life? My biggest supporters were my family and friends. Also, I’d like to thank Counselor Matthew Williams, Professor Maisha Jones, Professor Thomas Dubry, and Professor Stephanie Burrus. They are definitely responsible for inspiring me to be all that I can be and encouraging me. Their influence in my life has been positive and for them, I am truly grateful. LASC is amazing and I’m thankful for all of the faculty and staff who dedicate their time to help us students and the community. 

What's next for you? I am transferring to Cal State Dominguez Hills in the fall where I plan on working hard to receive my bachelor's degree.

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Sansan Claude Hien (Valedictorian)

Degree you earned at LASC: Social and Behavioral Sciences

Tell us about your journey to graduation: I had a wonderful journey at LASC from my first semester (Spring 2018) to my graduation. When I moved to the USA in June 2015, I was a little bit worried because everything was new to me, especially regarding college. In addition, I enrolled with a very limited English level. But, most of my professors knowing that, showed great patience with me anytime I had to talk in class. They all encouraged me not to be blocked in my mind because of my poor English. I remember some of them telling me not to be too complexed by how I speak because what is most important is that people understand my message. I will also mention my good interaction with my classmates who supported me and the very important assistance I got from the UMOJA and TRiO programs, EOPS, Library, and the very exceptional mentorship from Dr. Robert, who later connected me with the Office of state Senator Holly J. Mitchell for an internship. All of these factors strongly contributed to motivating me and to making me feel very comfortable at LASC. The only obstacle I can mention was the language barrier because my first language is French. To overcome it, I took ESL classes at South Bay Adults School. In addition, I regularly listen to music and radio, watch the news on TV and read books only in English.

Who were your biggest supporters at LASC and in your personal life?

My Biggest Supporters At LASC: Professors Dr. Lance Robert (Political Science Teacher, My Mentor), Dr. T Howard (Political Science Teacher), and Dr. Maisha Jones (Sociology Teacher),

Staff Members: Dr. Erika Miller (Umoja/TRiO Program Director), Mrs. Rachelle Thomas-Green (EOPS Counselor), Mr. Thurman Watson (UMOJA/TRiO Counsellor), Mrs. Parisa Samaie (Library Chair), Mrs. Norma Drepaul (Library Staff), Mrs. Deborah Farber (Library Staff), Mrs. Christina Gonzalez (General Counsellor), Damien Danielly (Career And Job Center), Dulce Marquez (DRC), Roxana Guzman (DRC), Melissa Perez (UMOJA/TRiO Staff), James Tucker E (UMOJA/TRiO Staff Staff), and Linda Aguilar (UMOJA/TRiO Staff)

Classmates And Other Students: Maria Menchaca Araujo, Rosemary Maduako, Tyler Louis, Dezshanae White, Michelle White, Esther Nwokoji, Octavia Martin, Patricia Fields, Aneesah Shah, Shanitta Bingham, Tyana Haywood, and Damion Mercedes Humski

The Biggest Supporters In My Personal Life: My Grandfather, My Mother, Colette Chokouafi Houwe, Lepite Hien (Uncle), Amy Diabate (Adoptive Mother), Mrs. Dina Matheson (ELS Teacher At South Bay Adults School), Dr. Antony Toranto (Former Director At South Bay Adults School), Isaac Koffi, And Family Father Charles Carpenter, Mrs. Betty Daniel Aggre, Marcelin Adjalou, Daouda Bambara, Claude Pale, Patrick Zadi, Djibrill Sanogo, Alain Serge Hien, and Jean Louis Ekanza

What's next for you? University of California Berkeley

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Saul Siguenza

Degree you earned at LASC: Biology

Tell us about your journey to graduation: One of the greatest obstacles that I had to overcome was my fear to speak in front of an audience. Every time I had to present a topic for a class, I used to feel like I wasn't reaching my full potential because of my fear to make mistakes and mispronounce words. I used to read for my presentations instead of explaining the topics, which caused me to get low grades at some points in my career. However, thanks to my professors and peers in each class, I could overcome my fear little by little until I became a proficient speaker. Right now, I can say that presentations have become my favorite activity and I look forward to having more in the University.

Who were your biggest supporters at LASC and in your personal life? My biggest supporters not only in my career but also in my personal life have always been my parents. My professors as well as my classmates in every class have always played an important role in my academic and personal development. 

What's next for you? I am transferring to Cal State Dominguez Hills as a Biology major. I'm planning to study and earn my bachelors' degree in Microbiology and subsequently earn a Master's Degree in Biology. My final goal is to become a college professor and teach Anatomy and Physiology.

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Taja Neal

Degree you earned at LASC: Nursing

Tell us about your journey to graduation: I had many obstacles in the past three years. I started school after my 11-year-old son decided to move to North Carolina with his father. He said 'Mom, you should go back to school.' I really didn't know if I was smart enough to go back. I made my decision and enrolled in one online class in 2015. In 2016, my dad was diagnosed with cancer and I struggled with that. In 2017, he passed away. My little sister passed in 2018 and, lastly, I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2019 and survived that through God’s grace. In 2020, I am graduating. Yes!

Who were your biggest supporters at LASC and in your personal life? Dr. Angelita Salas in the TRiO program. If it wasn't for her huge heart, smile, encouraging words, and support, I would have given up. Dr. Salas is amazing. She's patient, warm, open, relatable, and loving. Whatever I needed, she made sure I got it. I just want to thank her over and over again, because she helped me get over this hump, so I can continue on in my incredible journey.

What's next for you? My goal is to continue on to a Bachelor's Degree in nursing

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Tumara Jeter

Degrees you earned at LASC: Liberal Studies, Social and Behavioral Sciences, Liberal Studies (Teacher Prep) and Business Administration

Tell us about your journey to graduation: My grandmother ended up passing away towards the end of the Fall Semester. I had taken on multiple classes trying to drown myself with work and she passed away and I didn’t even know how to manage to try to cope and still make it through. I stayed up late nights and woke up early mornings trying to complete and make sure I finished strong or at least try to. It was challenging and sometimes difficult especially since I’d be a first-generation college graduate on both sides of my family and on my mom's side the first female in my family and from my generation to graduate college and even with multiple degrees. I pushed through with a lot of motivation from my friends and some of my family to keep moving forward through my obstacles.

Who were your biggest supporters at LASC and in your personal life? Dr. Ortega and Professor Jones. From my personal life, my mother and my friends Makiea Patterson and Earliana Larry.

What's next for you? I’m going to take probably a semester off from school to travel the world a bit and then enroll in a university

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Essie Blackmon

Degree you earned at LASC: Early Childhood Education

Tell us about your journey to graduation: I am the oldest of four children and I am the first to graduate in my family. It's always been hard facing adversity and living in a high-crime, high-poverty community. But. despite the adversity, I have overcome every barrier that's been my way. While going to college, I had a battle with my mental health, financial issues (couldn't even go to school and work), and learning issues as well.

Who were your biggest supporters at LASC and in your personal life? My biggest supporters were my mom and Auntie Bobbie, who helped me through the restless nights of studying and trying to succeed. At Southwest, people who were my biggest supporters were Ms. Brandy Robinson, Ms. Gabriel Corona, Mr. Leroy, Mr. Matthew Williams, Promise office, EOPS office, and all of the amazing people in the Child Development Department. 

What's next for you? I will be transferring to Cal State Dominguez Hills to pursue my education.

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Rikaya Maxwell

Degree you earned at LASC: Social and Behavioral Sciences

Tell us about your journey to graduation: As a returning student, I had a lot of obstacles to overcome. I was so worried because I had to take care of my kids and go to school. It was not easy for me but the LASC staff was there for me. I truly appreciate everyone.

Who were your biggest supporters at LASC and in your personal life? I would like to say thank you to Mrs. Tucker in the Counseling Office and all the counselors. In my personal life, I would like to say thank you and I love you to my children.

What's next for you? I plan on enrolling in Cal State Dominguez Hills.

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Satoria Britton

Degrees you earned at LASC: Social and Behavioral Sciences, Liberal Studies (Teacher Prep), and Business Administration

Tell us about your journey to graduation: I obtained my G.E.D in July 2018 and by August I was attending LASC. During my journey at LASC, I have had severe trials and tribulations including waking up at 3 a.m. to get from Lancaster to be at LASC by 8 a.m. I even wanted to give up at times all while raising my teenage son. I took six to seven classes in a regular semester and three classes in the summer and winter semesters without taking a break so that I could finish in the two years given. God gave me the strength to block out anything and anybody that tried to stop me from finishing on top. I also did not want to give up because I knew my son was watching me. I stood 10 toes down through it all. I will now be graduating with more than one degree. Never give up.

Who were your biggest supporters at LASC and in your personal life? God, my mother, my son, a few family members as well as Johnny and Travon Williams for the years spent helping me with my son, especially during my two years at LASC, as well as Counselor Matthew Williams in EOPS.

What's next for you? I will be transferring to California State Fullerton for two years and then I will further my education until my name says Dr. Satoria Britton.

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Franceli Gomez

Degree you earned at LASC: Social and Behavioral Sciences

Tell us about your journey to graduation: These past two years have shaped me into the woman I am today. Returning to school after 15 years was a big challenge. I had to do it with asthma, depression, and pneumonia. My biggest obstacles were fighting deportation I had pending and going through a divorce. I had to keep strong for my son and myself, but I did it!

Who were your biggest supporters at LASC and in your personal life? My counselor Mr. Juan Camacho helped me through every step of the way. He not only had to deal with me crying to him every semester, but he helped me stay on track with my classes and any application that needed to be done. He always listens and didn't let me quit. My Sociology professor Dr. Jones, my lawyer Justine, my son Isaiah, my mom, my sister, and friends were all my supporters.

What's next for you? I was accepted to every Cal State that I applied to. I will continue my education. But most importantly I want to start working where my heart has always been, and that's working with at-risk teenagers. 

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Alondra Martinez

Degree you earned at LASC: Social and Behavioral Sciences

Tell us about your journey to graduation? A lot of my obstacles were financial. The fall of 2018 was the most challenging time of my life. I got injured at work, I was off for more than 2 months, I was going through a bankruptcy, and I only had the money for one meal a day. I was going through a lot while being a full-time student. I was an A student but, during this semester, I failed two classes because my mindset and body were not in a healthy state. After that semester, I promised myself to not give up and to get back on my feet. The beginning of 2019, I picked up two jobs, I re-took the classes that I failed, I made sure to get my GPA up and pass my classes with A's and B's. I accomplished it. I am graduating with a 3.65+ GPA. Life is hard when you are a full-time student and have two jobs but I have a goal and I want a better future and I think of this situation as temporary. For now, I am thankful that I am financially stable. I am healthy both physically and mentally. I am happy and thriving.

Who were your biggest supporters at LASC and in your personal life? There is a lot of great professors and resources at LASC that supported me. Starting off with the TRIO program, which provided me with so many resources. The counselors there guided me so much on my career path and I am beyond thankful. Professors that inspired me and supported me are Dr. Jones, Professor Evans (English), Professor Gromova, and Leah, a math tutor in the Student Success Center.  In my personal life, my parents and husband have supported me so much and without them, I wouldn't have been able to be a full-time student while working two jobs.

What's next for you? I am transferring to Cal State Dominguez Hills and I am going to get my bachelor's degree in Mathematics Education. After that, I plan to get my masters in Mathematics. I want to become a high school teacher and explore the education system.

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JoAnne Cleary

Degrees you earned at LASC: Management/Supervision, Management/Supervision, Business Administration, Management and Supervision

Tell us about your journey to graduation: My journey has been amazing. I began my college educational journey back in the late '70s. I was here when there were bungalows. I was met with many challenges. Illness and death of my mother. I had to leave to assist with my siblings and then started my own family. When I returned to California in 2016, while passing the college, I was amazed at how the college had been upgraded. At that moment, I  made a U-turn and enrolled. It was one of the best decisions I have made. The obstacle that I feared the most was my age. I had been out of school over 30+ years and I just knew that I would not be able to keep up. Well, to my surprise, I overcame my fear and never looked back. I began my journey of no return, I went full speed ahead. I am an achiever. I followed my dreams and graduation is here.

What's next for you? I plan to complete my bachelor studies. I will be transferring to a college in Texas soon. While I am choosing a college, I will be working on the next phases of my business. Setting up my online orders and deliveries.

Who were your biggest supporters at LASC and in your personal life? My sons and grandchildren were my biggest supporters. The very first supporter on-campus was Professor Rodriquez in Counseling 17. She paved the way on how to survive life on campus. In addition to helping me realize I can achieve anything. She inspired me and helped me realize that I was the driving force of my life and only I could put the brakes on. My other supporters were EOP&S staff, Professor Sharon Collins-Head, Dr. Tandy Ward, and Professor Powell.

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De’Lisa Smith 

Degrees you earned at LASC: Psychology

Tell us about your journey to graduation: My journey has been challenging but overall great. Working full-time and going to school full-time and being a mother to my beautiful daughter was overwhelming but I did it!

What's next for you? I will be transferring to Cal State Dominguez Hills in the fall and pursuing my education further. My motto is “I can’t see anyone stopping me, I’m Unstoppable, been through a lot of obstacles I did the impossible”!

Who were your biggest supporters at LASC and in your personal life? My biggest supporter at LASC is Ms. Pitre in the counselor's office. She was very informative, patient, and awesome. Also, my biggest supporters are my family. I love y'all.

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LaTera Goodstin

Degrees and/or Certificates you earned at LASC: Business Administration

Tell us about your journey to graduation: I had a rocky road coming into college at the age of 17 when I went to El Camino, which didn’t work out, but I didn’t stop learning. So I started my new journey. I continued being humble and aimed to attend LASC and finish. I took basic classes and ended up finishing all my general education classes and core classes within three years.

Who were your biggest supporters at LASC and in your personal life? My whole family supported me and at LASC it was Dr. Salas, Dr. Jones, Dr. DuBry, Dr. Roberts, Mrs. Arms-Gradington and especially Dr. Ward, who gave me a positive note every time we crossed each other’s pathways.

What's next for you? What’s next for me is going to my new home at Cal State Los Angeles where I will not look back until I will finish with a degree with my name on it.

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Gabriel Gonzalez

Degrees and/or Certificates you earned at LASC: Business Administration

Tell us about your journey to graduation: The obstacles that I have to face were taking care of my mother, which was challenging due to her health and her needing me as a primary caregiver. In addition, transportation, expenses, and the cost of living and being the primary income provider. In addition, juggling two jobs and still going to school to achieve my dream as well as being aware of my status and becoming an Advocate for our undocumented students.

Who were your biggest supporters at LASC and in your personal life? The biggest supporters were my mom, my counselors, my professors, my ex-director, and my advisor. Also, some students that I became close friends with. 

What's next for you? I will be transferring to Cal State Dominguez Hills in which I'm very excited.

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Merveille Mekiege Njah

Degrees and/or Certificates you earned at LASC: Social and Behavioral Sciences

Tell us about your journey to graduation: My journey to graduation was stressful and tedious, especially because I was new in the USA and had to first get used to the educational system here. Other challenges were as a result of the fact that I needed to have a mastery of computer technology and I had to cope with both school, bills, and work.  So I had to master the language and the educational system, be proficient with basic software, and make arrangements to cope with everything new around me.

Who were your biggest supporters at LASC and in your personal life? My biggest supporters in LASC and in my personal life were my brothers and sisters; they often encouraged me and helped me print out my assignments.  I equally often went to them for more clarification and interpretation of questions. Also, I want to give a big thanks to Dr. Jones Maisha and Professor Resendiz Radames for being supportive, understanding, and caring. Finally, a big thanks to Joel Teumah and Lynda Njah for being there throughout my struggle with school, assignment, and work, which wasn’t easy.

What's next for you? What I am looking forward to is to enroll in any school that offers the RN (Registered Nurse) program.

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Iysis Howard

Degrees and/or Certificates: Interdisciplinary Studies and Liberal Studies

Tell us about your journey to graduation: I’ve been in dual enrollment since my 9th-grade year. I’ve taken three college classes each session along with all my high school classes. I’ve struggled and lost motivation, but my determination and wanting to exceed pushed me to do better. As a result, I’m graduating a year early from high school while receiving two AA’s from Los Angeles Southwest College as well as receiving my IGETC Certificate this summer.

Who were your biggest supporters at LASC and in your personal life? The counselors were the biggest supporters. I went to a few of them and they all genuinely were a big help. In my personal life, my parents and friends have been great supporters, all pushing me and telling me how proud they are of me. Also, my coaches and many of my high school teachers.

What's next for you? I’ll be attending the illustrious Dillard University Fall of 2020.

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Emeka Akpudiogwu

Degrees and/or Certificates you earned at LASC: Nursing

Tell us about your journey to graduation: It was a journey filled with hardwork, stress, happiness, toils and disappointment of life. Sometimes I felt like stoping, not taking any classes and procrastination took over my plans/decisions and even to extent of quitting school. By God’s grace, I consoled and motivated myself with this unforgettable quote, which says “No rest in life until success is achieved” and “Who I am and what I need is something I have to find by myself, even though u can describe part of me.”

Who were your biggest supporters at LASC and in your personal life? My parents, siblings, and some of my classmates in LASC that suddenly became my best friends I ever meet in life.

What's next for you? I plan to be a US Sailor in the Navy because I discovered that through the Navy, I will receive full sponsorship to obtain Nursing degree at Cal State Long Beach where I transferred to.

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Tamiko Wafford

Degrees and/or Certificates you earned at LASC: Liberal Arts: Natural Sciences

Tell us about your journey to graduation: I had to overcome losing my mother at the age of 14 and then becoming a young single African American mother of two kids with no high school diploma. I dropped out of school at the age of 16.  I did not return back to school until the age of 42. I went back and obtained my GED Diploma from Chaffey Adult School and then from Casa Loma School of Nursing graduating the LVN program in 2014. Now I am graduating from Los Angeles Southwest College. I can't believe I made it this far in life growing up in the streets of South Central Los Angeles with no guidance. To all the students: Never give up. If I can do it, you can do it.

Who were your biggest supporters at LASC and in your personal life? My biggest supporters were my son and daughter, Terrance and Tamesha, who always believed and encouraged me through school and all are tough journeys we went through together to get to this point in life. Also, Dr. Ford, a counselor at LASC, who helped me along the way by telling me I can do this. I must continue to graduate. Thanks, Dr. Ford, for all your continuous support. 

What's next for you? I will be applying for a registered nursing program in the California State University system.

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Starquita Washington

Degrees and/or Certificates you earned: Social and Behavioral Studies and Psychology

Tell us about your journey to graduation: I started school in winter 2018 and I didn’t know what major I wanted to study. During my time at LASC, I didn’t take any breaks. I went to school all year and I decided to cut hours from work because I was more passionate of becoming a full time student and to push myself everyday.

Who were your biggest supporters at LASC and in your personal life? My biggest supporters at LASC were my peers and teachers. Everyone always gave me the motivation to continue and to not stop. My grandfather was my biggest supporter and in my personal life. I’ll be the first in my family to attend college so him being able to see me go off to college at the age of 108 is amazing to me.

What's next for you? I’ll be heading of to an Historically black colleges and universities. I have committed to Bethune-Cookman University in Dayton.

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Tawana Cooper

Degrees and/or Certificates you earned at LASC: Interdisciplinary Studies

Tell us about your journey to graduation: It’s been a long road but I decided to do some volunteering and so I put off school for awhile but I was finally able to hunker down and complete my last few online classes. It’s quite an accomplishment to be the first in my family to get a college degree and I am absolutely thrilled.

Who were your biggest supporters at LASC and in your personal life? My husband Rodney Cooper. He is the love of my life and has always supported my goals. My family is a true blessing as well.

What's next for you? I plan to continue my full time career as a bible teacher, which I absolutely adore.

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Pablo Saucedo

Degrees and/or Certificates you earned at LASC: Administration of Justice

Tell us about your journey to graduation: During my two years at LASC, it has been a wonderful experience for me because I got the opportunity to assist at a school that honors the legacy of our founder Odessa B. Cox. During my years at Southwest, I learned about different programs that I did not know before and resources that were available to students like the LA Promise Program, EOP&S, and Trio Scholars.  As an ASO Senator of Student and Community Relations, I had the opportunity to make a change in my school and in my school community by talking to students and encouraging them to take advantage of all the available programs and resources the school offers. Some of the obstacles I had to overcome as a student was retaking Math 227 (Stats) for the third time because the first two times were hard for me but, with the help of God, my Professor named  Guadalupe Ramos motivated me to keep on going and, in the end, I passed the class and recuperated the credits lost.

What's next for you? Will you be transferring? What's next for me as a graduating transfer student is to transfer for the Fall 2020 term at to cal State Dominguez Hills and to obtain my Bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice with the help of God. Also, what's next for me is to become an LAPD detective and to continue to make my parents proud. 

Who were your biggest supporters at LASC and in your personal life? LASC Supporters: Dr. Erika Miller (Trio-Scholars Counselor), Professor Johnathan Pope Evans (Theater), Dr. Tandy Ward (EOP&S Advisor), Linda Aguilar (Trio Scholars), Melissa Perez, (Trio Scholars), James Tucker (Trio Scholars), Ms. Rachelle Green (EOP&S Counselor), Professor Barry Blocker (AJ 3 Professor), and Professor Rasheed Saafir (AJ 5 Professor). Personal Life: My father Pablo Saucedo Ayala, My mother Leydi Canche, my grandmother Guadalupe "Lupe" Saucedo, my aunt Manuela Canche, my uncle Alexis Madero, my cousins Julio Canche and Kevin Canche.

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*Editor's note: Some responses were edited for consistency.