Jose graduated Fall 2016 from CSU Sacramento with his degree in Criminal Justice.
A college degree to me means so much more than another step to a career. Coming from such humble beginnings college was always a goal, but one that always seemed just out of reach. I grew to accept that completing college was possible but not expected from someone like me. After all I am an individual from a minority group and come from an underprivileged home; however, I could not find it acceptable to settle and squander the opportunities that I knew were there to be taken. My family shared this view and was as supportive as they could be always pushing me to do my best and it was with this that I knew the opportunities would follow.
It was with dedication and the confidence instilled upon me by a wonderful teacher during my freshman year of high school that I applied to this outstanding program with the hope that I could impress enough to be chosen as a recipient of this scholarship. To my shock I was admitted and entered this program that would grow to become a family.
I am happy to know I fulfilled the goal of both myself and the program; I earned a college degree and it feels awesome to say that.
Of course completing my degree was not without its difficulties. I faced many of the same issues that all contemporary students suffer: impacted majors, full classes, balancing class schedules with work, completing assignments, parking… Even so I knew I had such a strong support network behind me that I could not possibly fail whatever the case may have been.
I faced personal adversity that I am proud to say I have overcome, and even though it was stressful at times I knew I had nothing less than their full support. If anything these pressures served as motivators to try even harder and as the end was almost in sight I grew proud to know the hard work, late nights, early mornings, and long days were soon to be transformed into a magnificent reward.
As I stood in line to be called up at graduation I could not help but feel, excited, fulfilled, relived, and a bit tired (as to be expected of an early morning graduation). When I accepted my reward and headed back to my seat I could only liken the feeling to a dream, to finally be done and to have done it with the help of my family, friends, peers, and of course this organization.
Finishing my undergraduate studies was just the beginning as you may know I plan on going to law school within the coming years.
I would again like to offer my deepest appreciation towards this program that has allowed me to grow and to succeed. It was only with the hard work on both ends that I am standing here before you as a college graduate. Your faith was not misplaced and I truly cannot express the gratitude that I feel in words, even so I would like to say thank you for this opportunity and I hope that the foundation’s reach continues to grow because for every story like mine there are countless others who could, – no, should be heard. It would be an honor to continue to succeed in the name of this organization and as an individual; I am forever grateful and would love nothing more than to be successful in life and give back to a community and organization that has given so much to me.