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San Joaquin Valley College Blog

SJVC’s own Magnificent Seven

August 29, 2013

SJVC Magnificent SevenDavid Huezo didn’t set out to be a recruiter for SJVC when he enrolled in the Medical Assisting program at the Temecula campus. But six of his closest friends from childhood and high school watched his growing success at SJVC and, one at a time, checked it out for themselves.

“At first nobody paid attention that I was going to college,” says David. “But then they noticed how easy my hours were and that I could go and still hang out. They started thinking, ‘If he could be successful, why can’t we?’ and pretty much jumped in,” says David.

David, who had just graduated from Murrieta Valley High School, actually enrolled before the new Temecula campus was even open.

“I didn’t even finish my summer break before I enrolled after touring an empty building,” says David, who must have been pretty confident in the MA program to wait 2-months for construction completion.

David’s friend, Isaias Anaya was the next friend to discover what SJVC Temecula had to offer. It was the Business Administration program that got his attention right away. Since he had taken accounting, marketing and other business classes in high school, he felt it was a natural for him.

“I started a business (class project) in high school and moved from the accounting field to manager, CEO then president,” says Isaias. His was a nice move up the business model ladder and good preparation for the BA program and future employment positions.

Good friend Alex Stoenesco was third at bat. The MA program was a good fit for him, too, and he kept the friends-for-college momentum going.

Along the way both David and Isaias made sure their friends knew why they chose SJVC, a private Junior college, over other options, such as community colleges.

David was convinced that “all of the hands-on training that teaches you more than one way of doing things” and the time-savings of “getting all the classes you need” and having SJVC “set your schedule for you” made all the difference.

“We offer support on an individual basis and hope that no student is ever lost in the crowd,” says Robyn Whiles, Temecula Campus Director. “I think this shines through when longtime friends are willing to suggest to people they care about that attending SJVC is a good experience.”

Isaias felt that the biggest private school pay-off was definitely in the accelerated training that earned graduates a degree in a shorter time.

“Look, I know I pay loans for a couple of years, but the faster you get your degree, the sooner you’ll pay them off,” says Isaias. “The biggest advantage is that you’re a step ahead of everybody else.”

By the time both David and Isaias completed their programs at SJVC, five long-term friends were well into their programs, too.

Joey Abella, Medical Office Administration student, is the latest of the group to enroll. Joey had never planned to go to college, but his childhood friends David, Isaias and Alex made it hard to resist giving it a try. Joey’s brother, Aron Edall, and cousin, Geoffrey Catbagan, had their own stories of success at SJVC that helped to convince him.

If you’ve lost count, it’s up to six friends and family members who shared major life events for a long time and decided to make a college degree the latest of their group accomplishments.

Coming in at number seven, Steven Avalos started the Pharmacy Technology program at the same time Joey started his MOA program.

“This thread of family and friends attending our campus is such a reflection of our culture and goals. We want to spread the word by referral what SJVC Temecula has to offer,” says Robyn Whiles.

These Magnificent Seven spent a lifetime in the same neighborhood, same schools and same group of friends – sometimes in the same family. But they know their educational success is now starting to reach beyond the intimacy of their immediate group of guy-friends.

David’s cousin, Janet Rivera, has enrolled in the MA program and Isaias has sisters in middle school he is already working on. Isaias’ cousin, Arturo de Paz, took his advice about the benefits of an education at SJVC and will graduate from Temecula’s Clinical and Administrative Medical Assisting program in October.

And, the original seven have dreams beyond their shared success at SJVC.

“As the first to go to college in my family I want to stay where I am for a few years, then go on to become a Physician Assistant or Nurse Practitioner,” says David Huezo.

No doubt David’s dreams will light a fire in the competitive spirit of the guy-group and find others among them stretching their ambitions, as well.

“SJVC Temecula is changing the community landscape, offering training to neighbors and friends here in the community they live in,” says Whiles.

When good advice comes from a trusted friend, it is contagious.

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