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258 Stories And Counting.

#63 Mario Guevara, Student
(I am studying Business/Accounting)

I have attempted to get my degree since my early teens. It has not been easy. Coming from a migrant family with barely enough to pay the bills has made this journey a very long one. I have been at COD since 2008 as a veteran of the U.S Army who has been paying for my tuition thanks to an injury that I acquired on duty. COD took me in and Donni (Veteran Affairs) has helped me through the whole process. She has always been there for us as veterans and has supported us.

I don't know how I'm going to complete my classes this year as I have been having transportation problems and had to cancel my last semester. But, I am hoping to finish online classes which will enable me to find a full-time job and continue finishing my degree.

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Russell Artuso

#62 Russell Artuso, Student
(Music and Art)

I always wanted to learn to play the piano and read music, but then life got in the way. I didn't even know what a middle C was. Private lessons weren't an option.

My youngest was getting ready for college and suggested I take some courses at COD to fill the void my children made when they all left home. I decided to take a piano course at COD. I was petrified. I hadn't stepped into a class room in over 30 years. I thought I was going t be the "old man" in class but to my surprise, there were students older than me !!!

After that first semester I was hooked...I started taking every music class I could. I learned the piano and how to read music as well as on my way to learning guitar. The teachers at COD are patient and the students have been a great help. I am so glad I found you COD!

A message for you "older" folks out there: This is a very pleasant way to self-fulfillment and sure beats sitting around a bar telling "war" stories.

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Carol Lasquade

#61 Carol Lasquade, Staff
(EOPS/CARE & CalWORKs Coordinator)

I never aspired to be a millionaire. I prefer open spaces over cramped places. Yet, as Coordinator of EOPS/CARE & CalWORKs, statistics are my thing. I like to gauge the probability for success by the non-traditional and re-entry students we motivate at COD.

It’s incredible, really, when you count the numbers: 2,836 student assists since 2005. Of that group, 981 students achieved Dean’s List and Honor Roll status; 421 received their A.A. degrees. Another 235 went on to four-year universities.

Knowing the faces and stories behind those numbers makes me feel so blessed. It’s very humbling and it motivates me, too. I want to give back to them what I’ve been given.

I was a single-parent who married my high school sweetheart, and at 25, moved back into my parents’ home when things didn’t work out. My son, Matt, was three when I began my educational journey. A pamphlet from Northern Essex Community College arrived in the mail, and Mom said, “Why don’t you go to college?” I had nothing to lose; so, I enrolled. In 1981, I obtained an A.S. degree in Deafness Communication from NECC and was one of 40 women on welfare to be awarded with a full scholarship from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation to attend Smith College. I went from having nothing to getting a B.A. in Psychology from Smith; then, a Master’s of Arts degree from Mount Holyoke College.

I moved to California in 1988, and worked for many years in the TRIO programs, like Upward Bound. I created a book in collaboration with Cal State Monterey Bay to empower single parents on CalWORKs to get college degrees. I came to COD after my husband, Dr. Doug MacIntire, became a COD faculty member in the Physics Department in 2002. I signed on as an adjunct counselor, and fell in love with the college.

All things conspire to inspire. And that held true for me: I went from being the first in my family to get a degree, to having a son who was first to start college out of high school. Today, he’s a teacher; a Dad. I’m really proud of him. And when I see a steady stream of students come to us with their hopes and dreams, I am rewarded when they are empowered to continue on, even when obstacles block their paths.

I think that’s the key to what education does. It transforms lives, not just yours. It transforms the lives of all those around you.

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Kathy Ireland

#60 Kathy Ireland

A thirst for knowledge is one of life's greatest passions. We must work together to support our valley's students as they strive to achieve excellence through learning. COD is an extraordinary place that needs our combined efforts. Please examine and act on your belief in higher education.

Joaquin Delgado

#59 Joaquin Delgado, Class of 1969

I washed a lot of dishes, bused a thousand tables and inherited my parents’ passion for the restaurant business. But the best thing I’ve ever brought to the table was my education from College of the Desert. Now, after three generations of my family have graduated, it's time to turn the table and step up for COD.