Temecula Business student is the guy to watch
Elias comes from a humble background. His parents, Elias and Maria Soledad, had very little formal education because they both had left school early to help support their families. Elias senior’s mother taught him to read and write and Maria spent her youth helping care for her siblings while her parents worked the fields. English lessons came from the TV.
Their hard work continues so that their six children can have the chance for something better. With three kids in college, “We all have to work,” says Elias. His dad does landscaping, irrigation and harvests avocados, while his mom makes flower arrangements for a nursery. “Between the three of us, we sustain the household.”
They all put their hopes on higher education. When Elias’ sister, Elizabeth enrolled in the Medical Assisting program, he decided to give SJVC a look. Although already working full-time as Youth Services Library Technician at the Temecula Public Library, Elias knew he had to get his higher education rolling.
“I wanted to know what would make me the most well-rounded individual, and a background in business would make me more flexible in the job field,” says Elias. That made good sense to him.
Elias was a sponge, soaking up every bit of knowledge about business practices. “I learned how to network with individuals on a business level,” he says. Elias volunteered at the student store, and brought his newly honed skills into play.
“From my Excel class, I was able to create our inventory sheet, as well as daily earnings, while I used practices of marketing through fliers,” he says. “Business is doing pretty well, and I pretty much have a line waiting before I open the store.” He is putting store operation and procedures together for the next person who steps in “to keep the momentum going.”
Elias volunteers at Orientation to welcome new students and help them feel more comfortable with what they are about to undertake. “It’s fun to go to orientation and see what they expect,” says Elias. “They look scared and intimated, and I probably looked the same,” he laughs.
“Elias is one of the most welcoming people I have ever met,” says John Hall, Dean of Student Services. “At orientation, he helps students come out of their comfort zones and encourages their interaction and excitement for starting their college career.”
Elias’ sharp mind and helpful nature have earned him many awards: Notable Newbie, Inspirational Involvement, Ambassador Award and Dean’s List. “Hearing my name called for the Inspirational Involvement Award was really nice because it meant Mr. Hall saw something in me. I thought, ‘you know, you can probably do more.’
“I can’t wait to see what Elias does in business,” says Mr. Hall. “Whatever he starts, people will want to be a part of it.”
It is difficult to imagine how Elias might do more. In addition to his full-time position at the library – including Saturdays, where he conducts school tours, helps children pick grade appropriate books to read and oversees events –he also works with his dad and mom each Sunday in the lavender fields to earn extra money. Elias doesn’t get to study until after 9:00 most nights.
“There are times when I am just too tired to do homework and think I will do it tomorrow,” says Elias. “Dad says, ‘If it can be done today, then you should do it today.'” His father’s words bear strong influence, and his mother’s steady motivation pushes him forward. His girlfriend, Brenda, has been with him since the beginning and has also been strong motivation for him.
“The reason I try so hard is that I will be the first in our generation to graduate from college.” Elias plans to go further. “I want to see if I can continue and get my BA and, hopefully, a Masters in Library Science.”
Elias has dreams of helping his dad start his own landscaping business, “so that he is his own boss.”
“I look back on my parents, who made the best of the opportunities they were given,” says Elias. “By continuing to the highest, I want to give them a big ‘thank you’ and show my family we can keep moving forward. We can say, ‘look at us now.’
There will, undoubtedly, be an appreciative audience.
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