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258 Stories And Counting.

#23 Jim Hummer, Staff
(Executive Director of the COD Foundation)

I am constantly amazed by the stories of the College of the Desert students and alumni. Since joining the Foundation, I have seen and been impressed with the many ways our students and graduates touch the lives of everyone in the Valley, making our community one of the premier places to live.

Education is not only the ticket to a better future for each student, but it enhances the quality of life for everyone in the Valley. With over 80% of our graduates and students residing within 1-2 hours of the Community College they attend, our Valley is truly a reflection of the scores of COD success stories written each and every day. I am honored to be a small part of the "Success Story" of the College of the Desert.

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#22 Anthony Panzica, Student

I was raised in a military family and lived on many different Air Force bases during my childhood. When I was 19, I started a career as a professional James Dean lookalike which I enjoyed for 15 years until retiring from the entertainment business in 2002.

In 2003, I started a non-profit drunk driving program in the Long Beach area of Los Angeles called the "Scooter Patrol". The Patrol transported potential drunk drivers home in their own vehicles for free by stowing a small, motorized scooter in the trunk of the drunk person's car, driving them home and then after dropping them safely, removing the scooter from the trunk and driving off to the next call. In the six plus years we were in operation, we transported over 12,000 people home safely and worked many major events where alcohol was served including the LA Weekly Music Awards and the premiere of the Warner Bros. film, "Beerfest".

After the economy took a bad turn, I decided to shut down the Patrol due to lack of donations which were needed in order to run the non-profit organization. The decision to close down the program was what led me to decide to go back to school and finally get my bachelors degree in Biology which is something I have always dreamed about doing. After looking around the Los Angeles area for suitable schools, I realized that the cost of living there would be far too high and that is when I drove out to Palm Desert to take a look at College of the Desert. I am very happy that I decided to attend COD and have been very happy since I got here over a year ago. I will be transferring to Cal State Channel Islands within the next 18 months and will always be thankful to all the great people at COD who have made my experience here one that I will always remember.

Below is a link to an article that was written about Scooter Patrol:

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#21 Andrew Roth, Class of 1987-1989
(Former Student )

My name is Andrew Roth. I moved from El Paso, Texas in 1987 to attend COD and to play basketball. My story is backwards, I actually attended the University of Texas El Paso (UTEP) for two years prior to attending COD. While at UTEP I met a former COD student who was playing basketball and had played for COD.

My father passed away while I was attending UTEP and I stopped playing basketball to work. I was encouraged a year and a half later by the current UTEP player and former COD student to continue my basketball career. She spoke with Ty Thomas (former Men's Basketball Coach) who called me and the rest was history.

I met my wife during my COD days. Today, 21 years later, we are still married. Both daughters attended COD and have moved on. I am still in touch regularly with three current COD staff members: Ty Thomas, Jack Tap, Donni Prince........COD ROCKS

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#20 Anthony Housden, Student
(Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counseling)

My name is Tony. My story starts with my large family. We are not a wealthy family. My dad was a mechanic and my mother stayed at home taking care of the seven of us.

I've had a hard time in school because I have a difficult time reading and writing. I worked hard to make it through and get to college. While it is still hard for me, I am committed to finish.

That is my story and a little bit of my life.

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Casey Strachan

#19 Casey Strachan
(Valley newcomer.)

As a relative newcomer to the Valley, I had never heard of College of the Desert and never imagined that such an extensive resource would be available. In my short time, however, I've had the chance to tour the campus and see not only the many programs and facilities, but the exciting plans and vision the college has for the region. I've met with faculty, students and even alumni and one thing is unanimous - their high praise of College of the Desert and the opportunities the college helped them achieve. Soon I hope to be taking advantage of some of those opportunities for myself. Thanks COD for helping us with lifelong learning...