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San Joaquin Valley College Blog

Letter from One Student to You

October 25, 2011

SJVC Criminal Justice Student Rondale Stevenson One of the best parts about SJVC is celebrating our students: learning about their lives, their journey to education and the things that keep them going. We are proud of all our students and particularly of Rondale Stevenson, a Rancho Cucamonga student who will graduate from the Criminal Justice program on November 16.

Hello my name is Rondale Stevenson, I am twenty-eight years old and I am the seventh child of eleven. Yes! My mother had eleven kids, although two brothers are deceased and a few are incarcerated. I am lucky number seven; I’m the only one who has attended college – where I come from, college was not a top priority.

Overcoming poverty-stricken surroundings, I became very determined to succeed. I say this because life challenges you, and you can be here one moment and gone the next or even locked up.

I grew up with love: my mother is the heart beat that makes me think and sleep. She teaches me to put God first and everything will work out in due time. No matter what negativity you are surrounded by, you have to stay strong and know right from wrong! Morals played a big factor growing up in a huge family with lots of different personalities. They taught me how to interact with others and learn from the good and the bad so when I start my own family, I will be the best father ever by taking care of them.

I have two beautiful girls named Sariyah and Miyah. Sariyah is six and Miyah is four years old. They both keep me motivated to wake up every morning with a smile on my face, waiting to catch the first bus of three in route to school.

I came to be at SJVC through a change of careers. I was a truck driver for a short period of time, with a family of two. I quit due to the stress of being away from my family. It was very difficult for my partner, handling two little ladies by herself. Although the money was great and the scenery was so beautiful, my heart was in the right place by coming home to my family. I prayed to my Father as I was kneeling down, knowing he would show me my next path. I remember a question in my head that kept popping up but I ignored it, thinking about money and getting a job to support my family. But as I was wondering, that question was blocking my vision from looking for employment. And I couldn’t understand that.

So I got up off my knees, ignored that feeling from my head and continued to look for a job. As time went by, I found myself looking for help, guidance. I realized I needed something that would make me stay focused and active. Then that feeling came back, but instead, from my heart. I remember that question that I thought about and ignored.

School was the answer to my prayer.

But the struggles didn’t stop there.

During the beginning months of school things were going pretty well, but by my second mod things begin to take a turn for the worse when it came to my personal life. My home situation with my children’s mother became very stressful and ended with me moving in with my mother. My younger sister was incarcerated while pregnant with her first child. My sister delivered her baby, which my mother and I care for now. I also knew my mother was suffering from troubling health concerns.

This weighed very heavy on me and my school work. I did my best not to let my troubles distract me. While on the bus, I took time to study the material given each day because when I made it home I knew I had little time to do school work. After expressing my concerns to my family – that my grades were slipping and I was falling behind – I realized I needed outside support, so that’s when I went to my CJ advisor who was very helpful in giving me advice on what steps I needed to take in order for me to stay focused and on track.

So to those who are in the same lane that I’m in – don’t get too discouraged to catch up, go at your own fast past. No matter what subject material you are struggling in – whether its math, English, or any core class. No matter the hard decision-making dealing with your own family or core family. No matter whether it be your partner, boyfriend, or girlfriend, or somebody holding you back. So try not to be afraid to turn left or right, change lanes or even stop. Continue to go straight because at the in of the tunnel, God always has your back.

I say this because, here I am a student of SJVC, almost done, waiting for my life to begin in a career in law enforcement.


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