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255 Stories And Counting.

Jeanette Negrete

#143 Jeanette Negrete, Class of 2012
(I received my Associate's degree in Liberal Arts, Humanities, and Communication. I am studying Nursing at COD.)

I have lived in the Coachella Valley all my life. My parents immigrated here to the valley from Mexico, and have been an essential part of my success in my education. I graduated from La Quinta High School in 2009 and immediately knew that I wanted to attend COD after graduation. I knew my parents didn't have the financial capacity to afford some of the more expensive colleges, and I knew that COD was a great college with great teachers and faculty. I have had the privilege of having some of the greatest teachers any student could ever ask for, and I will continue to strive for my ultimate dream of becoming a Family Nurse Practitioner. I have recently been admitted into COD's nursing program and will begin this fall.

My father attended COD at the age of 40. He had graduated from the UTI in Phoenix, Arizona, and after many years decided he wanted to better his position in the workforce. He studied horticulture and landscaping at COD, with what he said to be some of the greatest teachers and staff that truly supported him and helped him achieve the role of assistant superintendent at our valley's own Palm Valley Country Club. His achievement inspired me and my brother as we went through our classes at COD.

I have also had the honor of recently receiving a COD alumni scholarship for the school year granting me the opportunity to continue to study without the stress of the financial barrier. I am truly honored to call myself a Roadrunner, and with the continued support of my family, friends and COD staff I know that I will achieve my goals

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Debbie Suer

#142 Debbie Suer, Student
(Pursuing my AA degree; California Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors certificate from COD in 2012)

College of the Desert has opened doors to higher education, academic success, a future career for me and a new life for my entire family. On top of this, I have received an invitation to attend the Presidential Inaugural Conference in Washington D.C. based on academic merit achieved at COD. This rare opportunity is not only the outcome of hard work on my part; but also the generous support of my family, faculty and advisers at COD who believe in me and who have offered help and inspiration along the way.

I am currently a full time student pursuing my AA degree, and I plan to continue through my Masters. I received my CAADAC (California Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors) certificate from COD in 2012. I have maintained a 4.0 grade point average for seven semesters and recently became a member of the All-USA Community College Academic Team through Phi Theta Kappa.

Prior to attending COD, I worked 30 years in the travel industry. Then the tragedy of 9-11 changed all of that. At the same time my husband was diagnosed with a debilitating illness, resulting in financial hardship for my family. In 2009, I turned to College of the Desert with hope for a new start, enriching my life through higher education, and a new career path.

Being a good role model to my two daughters is my primary motivation for continuing my education and changing my career goals later in life. I am also inspired to share the gifts of sobriety with others who are struggling with addiction as I did 24 years ago. I am learning that the personal and scholarly work never ends, so I am determined to help others learn to live a life of sobriety, as I have, “no matter what".

My advice for any woman considering the decision to go to school is trust your self " trust your gut feelings. Even if it seems impossible, like it did for me, it may not be too late. We each have a special gift and contribution for this world. If it means going back to school to answer your own calling, no obstacle is too big to prevent this.

I am grateful to College of the Desert for the opportunity, help and inspiration, particularly Professors Acree, Emerson, Jones-Cage, and Drs. Britton, Church, Jordan and Greene. They have all encouraged me tremendously. A special thank you goes to Eve-Marie Andrews for her expert guidance in obtaining scholarships. I trust that this story and my life is now making a difference because of this support, and I look forward to making positive contributions to the community; I will continue making a difference in the lives of others as they have made in mine.

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Jerry Carmona

#141 Jerry Carmona, Class of 1981
(AA Degree from College of the Desert.)

I was born and raised in Indio, CA and graduated from Indio High in 1978 and from College of the Desert in 1981. While attending College of the Desert, I was student Assistant Coach for the Women's Basketball under Coach Frank Garcia. We reached the Southern California Championship Game in 1981. I also was an Intramural Tennis and Basketball Champion at College of the Desert.

From College of the Desert I went directly to Long Beach State where I studied Political Science and worked as Student Assistant to the Athletic Director. I worked directly with the football team and basketball team while attending CSULB and traveled all over the country with the athletic programs. I graduated with a BA in Political Science from CSULB in 1984.

I eventually earned my Teaching Credential for teaching students with moderate and severe disabilities at CSUSB. I now enjoy working closely with student athletes to ensure their experience at College of the Desert is rewarding and lifelong.

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Hector Rafael Rocha Barron

#140 Hector Rafael Rocha Barron, Student
(Culinary Arts and Related Services Management)

I am an International Student from Mexico. COD has given me the opportunity of growing continuously.

Finishing my education at COD is my second biggest dream-achievement. My first big achievement is my University degree as an Industrial Engineer.

I am hoping to graduate in the Spring 2013.

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Betty  Francis

#139 Betty Francis
(Computer Course Student)

When my husband gave me a computer for my 60th birthday, I referred to it as “that thing.” When he said he would teach me how to use it, I counter-offered “a friendly divorce to avoid all the misery.” , But, then I compromised by signing up for a COD evening computer course. It changed my life. After three semesters, I was fully qualified when a surprise job offer led me to my current position. You're never too old to learn.

Betty Francis

Director of Desert Scene,

The Desert Sun’s Society Section

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