I was the first in my family to go to college. Life was hard growing up in a farm labor camp, working alongside my mother and father in the grape fields of Indio. After graduating from Indio High School in 1981, College of the Desert was a reach for me. I didn't know how far I was going to get, I just knew I needed to get a higher education in order to compete for a better job and life. My accounting teacher at COD advised me to continue my education even though he knew we couldn't afford it. But he advised me to try for scholarships and loans and keep going. I ended up saving all my money from the summers working in the fields just to pay for one semester. I just knew somehow I'd make the rest happen. It took working three jobs and 56 hours a week while going to school full-time and living in the dorms to eventually get my Bachelor's Degree. I went on to work as a Welfare Fraud Investigator and an Administrative Manager for the Department of Public Social Services before transferring to the County Executive Office. My parents couldn't have been prouder than when I returned to my home town as City Manager. I wouldn't trade my experience for anything. It just makes me appreciate everything I have now.