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San Joaquin Valley College Blog

SJVC Students take on Washington D.C.

March 23, 2012

SJVC Students in Washington D.C.What started out as a typical day for eight students quickly turned into something extraordinary. A simple phone call to James Cunnigham, Kailynn Parker, Angelina Guinn, Estrellita Gonzales, Ann Fera, Jaime Biehl, Darien Robinson and Laura Pittman resulted in the beginning of a trip to Washington DC that they would remember forever.

“My initial reaction was disbelief. I was at my extern site when the campus management team called me to tell me I won. I was so surprised and exited that I began to cry,” expressed SJVC student Star Gonzales. Joy and excitement flooded through each of the students as they were informed that they had won. Students were selected through nominations by faculty and an essay competition (to read excerpts of the winning essays, see below).

The three day and three night trip was packed full of sight-seeing and bonding with fellow SJVC students and employees.

The sights that they were privileged to see included the National Museum of Natural History, American History Museum, National Archives Museum, Ford ‘s theatre, dinner at Union Station, the US Capitol Building and a night tour of all the monuments.

The students were accompanied by Mike Perry, Beth Hyde, Alyssa Perry and Lauren Haney. They loved getting to know the people who had helped make this trip possible. All of the students agreed that Mr. Perry was a most knowledgeable tour guide!

Even though the trip was full of fun, they also went there for a purpose. The students had the opportunity to go to California representatives and explain to them why SJVC was the best educational option for them and why state and federal funding is so important to their education and success.

“Standing up for my school and my fellow students was the best part for me,” stated Temecula student Kailynn Parker. The students believed that they were allowed to go one step farther in expressing their love for school, which most people do not get the chance to do.

Every student agreed that this trip greatly influenced them and showed how grateful they were to be a part of the SJVC family. The students would like to thank SJVC for the amazing opportunities to not only go on an amazing trip, but to also grow as a person, student and professional.

“After attending my first class, a wave of unfamiliar excitement toward school had overcome me, as I saw, for the first time, a small class with a teacher that actually cares that you are ‘getting it’…Because of the sincere attention of the faculty, I have been able to excel in all of my courses, contribute many hours to community service, develop a clear focus on what it will take to enter the workforce, and for the first time in my thirty-two years of life, I am really, truly proud of myself.” -Annie Ferla

“I put off coming back to school for approximately 15 years. I always did well in job interviews, so I’ve always been able to get good jobs with only a high school education. Though supervisory positions seemed tempting, my lack of qualifications held me back from pursuing these dreams…One of the analogies that best describe my experiences at SJVC is: SJVC is to the student, as the hardware store is to the carpenter. This refers to the preparation and accumulation of the ‘tools’ necessary to complete a job. In my opinion SJVC gives its students the skills or ‘tools’ necessary to compete in the job market, land a great job, and be successful.” -Darien Robinson

“’For changes to be of any true value, they’ve got to be lasting and consistent.’ This quote exemplifies what an education at San Joaquin Valley College (SJVC) is giving me. My education will help me obtain a career and live to be a better person. I have gone through many changes in my life but my greatest change has been obtained while attending SJVC. I have learned to have more confidence in myself and to be able to hold my head up high.” -Jamie Biehl

“Attending SJVC has made me a good citizen. It has helped me become a better and professional person. Getting this my college degree from SJVC has made me more confident. Because I was a foster child, I had no hopes in graduating high school let alone get my college degree. So, when I heard about San Joaquin Valley College, I was hopeful. Then I came to school and I found it as an amazing opportunity to improve my abilities as well as better my education, making a better future for myself. SJVC Temecula has supported me when I needed help and support.” -Kailynn Parker

“In my entrance interview to SJVC, Mr. Nijjar told me that he expected more of me than what I gave at my old junior college; he wanted me to get straight A’s in this program. Maybe he says that to everybody that he interviews and maybe not, but I took it to heart. I did not achieve the straight A’s, but I came close, and I attribute it to the initial challenge that I received by administration at the very beginning of my SJVC experience. What junior college is going to take that level of personal interest in their students?” -Laura Pittman

“My story is a great example of this. When I enrolled at SJVC, my mindset was that I was doing this for my family, to better help support them. It turns out that the best decision I ever made for them, was actually the best decision I have ever made for ME. The greatest thing I believe I have achieved here at SJVC is the confidence to believe in myself, and that who I am can have an impact on others.” -Estrellita “Star” Gonzales

“After my service in the United States ARMY, I started down a road of jobs that were not fulfilling. With every new job came the unsettling feeling that I was not doing what I truly wanted with my life. I had looked into applying for law enforcement jobs, but I felt I was not qualified for the position. My grandfather was a great man who served as a Missouri Highway Patrol Officer for 25 years, and every time I asked myself “Can I fill his shoes?” The answer came back, “No.” It was not until I found myself sitting in a class room at San Joaquin Valley College (SJVC) that I finally felt my aspirations were finally becoming my reality. The confidence and knowledge I gained from the incredible instructors at SJVC in just seven short months has given me a new look on life. No longer do I doubt my capabilities. I now know I have what it takes to work along with some of the finest. SJVC has given me not only an education it has given me hope.” -James Cunningham

“A big reason to why I choose to attend college is in thanks to my mother. Unfortunately, my mother passed away two years ago, but something great came from her passing. The last months of her life she had nurse come daily to take care of her. I was so grateful for the care and respect she gave my mom. After her passing I realized I wanted to be able to pass it forward. I wanted to give patients the care and respect that nurse gave my mom, for this is why I knew I wanted to attend college to get into the medical field. SJVC became the perfect choice.” -Angelina Gunn

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