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Luke Horning

#217 Luke Horning
(Attended COD Summer Session to Get Ahead)

Luke Horning always wanted to be his own boss. After graduating from Palm Desert High School in 2005, he enrolled in San Diego State University and went to work painting houses on the side to help pay for classes. Luke’s goal was to complete college in four years so he sought out additional transfer courses that would advance his academic plans. College of the Desert (COD) offered the classes he needed in business and management so he enrolled in summer session to get ahead. “The professors were great and the classes were affordable,” Luke said. “I was able to work while attending which made it possible for me to advance my coursework.”

Thanks to hard work and the availability of transfer courses, such as those at COD, Luke earned his bachelor’s degree in business management in 2009 and opened Luke Horning Paint Company in Palm Desert shortly thereafter.

College of the Desert helped Luke advance his goals for higher education,a career and a good life. He recently came back to COD to share his real life business experience with business students. “I wanted to let students know that it is important to have both education and career goals,” Luke emphasized. “If they focus on completion they can succeed in business and in life.”

Luke is pictured with wife Heather Enos Horning, also a COD alum.

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Alisha Terrell

#216 Alisha Terrell, Student
(Seeking AA and transfer to a Cal State or UC school, to get my bachelors in Public Health to become a nutritionist. )

When I was born my mother was struggling with a drug addiction and a drinking problem.I was born drug addicted and needed extra care. My Uncle and Aunt took me and my sister in and raised us as if we were their own.Growing up we learned how important education was and staying active and not following the crowd but being a leader. We were always active with sports and never had a gaming console.I was not close to my mother through out the years, but as I got older we have gotten closer an closer, and I learned not to blame her for the decisions she chose to make. My plan in life is to help others make the right decisions in there life from the inside out.

Paulina Ferro Hernandez

#215 Paulina Ferro Hernandez, Student
(Student working on my AA-T in ECE and Staff at McCarthy Family CD&TC)

I feel inclined to Step Up For COD because without College of the Desert, the faculty, and its services I would not be able to further and eventually complete my education. I am working on receiving my AA-T in Early Childhood Education and am planning my graduation for Spring 2016. I have been attending COD since 2009. The way my personal life has played out I could have been discouraged from attending college but COD has eased my experience and allowed me to continue on with my education even after becoming a mother and wife at a young age. The key part of COD, for me, has been the care provided for my son and the job opportunity presented for myself at the McCarthy Family Child Development & Training Center.

Throughout my attendance, I have been lucky enough to always have extremely knowledgeable professors who are invested in their students and attentive to their needs (or maybe I just ask too many questions). I've also been introduced to the McCarthy Family CD&TC because of my connection with the ECE program. I have been employed at the Center since Fall 2013, as an Intern and as one of two Coordinators for the Family Literacy Program made available to us by the Anderson Children's Foundation. I take pride in our program and joy in my work; working with children and their families in order to make their experience at COD enjoyable, just as mine has been. The Center has not only allowed me to earn money and been flexible with my hours (working around my class schedule), but it has also been a place where I feel completely comfortable leaving my son while I go to class and do my classwork. I was not able to find another child care center or preschool with this quality of care for a price that I could afford; but, I am lucky enough to be a recipient of the McCarthy Scholarship which helps pay the major part of my son’s tuition. Every day I drop him off I know he will be well taken care off, he will be involved in rich, play-based, learning experiences, and he will have an organic, well-rounded, made-from-scratch breakfast, lunch, and snack.

Overall I wrote this to put a spotlight on the Early Childhood Education program and its faculty and also on the McCarthy Family Child Development & Training Center’s program, faculty, and staff. I want to thank them for all they do and I want them to know how greatly they have impacted my life. Thank you.

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Sunita Dhaimade

#214 Sunita Dhaimade, Class of 1996
(AA Early Childhood Education Child Development Specialist )

In March 1992, along with my family, I moved to the U.S.A. as my husband's family was settled here. I started my career as a Medical Assistant in a Doctor's office. After a couple of months, I decided to take classes at College of the Desert (COD) to become a teacher. I had my Bachelors of Art and Bachelors of Education degrees from India. While I was taking the classes at COD one of my professors came to know that I was a teacher in India. So she told me to visit and talk to the Director at the McCarthy Family Child Development Resource Training Center. After talking with the Director, Jan Barnett, who later became my Mentor, I started to work as student worker. I got my AA Degree in Early Childhood Education in 1996. Later on I worked as a Child Development Technician. This position gave me the confidence that I could pursue my career as an Infant Toddler Teacher. When a full time Specialist position came open, I applied for this position at the Center in October 1998. I have been here for 15 years. It's amazing working with children. Watching them grow and develop into little individuals is the most rewarding benefit. McCarthy Center at COD has given me a privilege of teaching and interacting with children during their most vital developmental years. My job gives me a tremendous amount of pleasure by working with children every day, being a Mentor to ECE students, and continuing my professional growth and development. I am thankful to COD for giving me this opportunity.

Claudia  Flores

#213 Claudia Flores, Class of 2005, Staff
(AA Liberal Arts Child Development Specialist)

In 1997 my family and I moved to the Coachella Valley looking for a better life. I decided to go to college and started taking Early Childhood Education classes in 2001. Four years later, I graduated with my AA degree in Liberal Arts and transferred to Cal State San Bernardino. After graduation I was unable to find employment so I came back to COD and enrolled in more ECE classes and at the same time started as a student worker at the McCarthy Family Child Development Resource Training Center. The next semester I applied to become an Intern. It was during this year as an Intern, working with a very experienced and knowledgeable teacher, that gave me the confidence to apply for a teacher position in the Migrant Headstart program.

After two years, I had the opportunity to apply for an ECE Specialist position that I currently have at the McCarthy Center. I am now in the enviable position of working with children every day, being a Mentor to ECE students, and continuing my professional growth and development. COD was here when I needed them and now I am honored to be able to pay forward all those years of support and education.

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