College was a slam-dunk, but my life didn’t start out that way. I’m from a single-parent household. My father was not part of my life. I’d been kicked out of school and in a lot of trouble academic-wise. I had family members who weren’t the best role models, who went in the wrong direction. I could have, too. Instead, I went to church, nailed things down with my studies, got on the basketball team as a power forward and was put on a path that led me to COD.
A lot of people helped along the way; but COD prepared me for life. Today, I’m an investment associate with Martinez & Associates, a company that sells mobile homes and self-storage property across Southern California. Our Ontario firm is small, but thriving: We do $15 million to $20 million in sales a year. Life’s great.
I found COD the summer I graduated from Upland High. A friend at church had gone to Whittier College with Coach Steve McGihon and thought I’d have a shot at getting on the Roadrunners basketball team. At try-outs, coach said he liked my attitude. He told me he’d save a spot on the bench, if I came to school. I lined up financial aid, got set up with a work study job and wore the team jersey with pride.
It’s such a tight-knit school, I never felt lost in the shuffle.
I had really good teachers who gave me a lot of 1:1 time. I relied on COD’s resources, from the computer lab to the math-science tutor center; and graduated with a 3.7 GPA. I even got plugged into a summer internship at Granite Construction. From there, I went to Whittier. I’d been well-prepared, and I excelled. My B.A. in business came with high honors. I was Whittier’s top scholar athlete, won awards in business leadership and was Whittier’s Poet Examplar.
I feel really fortunate that I found COD. I think it gives you a good foundation to go out and be successful in any college you go to.