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Angel I. Rodriguez


Angel R.jpgA typical day for me is getting up at 4:00am in order to catch my first bus then transfer at the UCI Medical Center by 5:00am to the bus that will drop me off in front of Santiago Canyon College. This has been my routine since April 16, 2014. The fact that I am homeless, staying in Costa Mesa, CA, has made things more challenging for me.

When I was asked "Why was it important for you to get your high school diploma?"

My answer was simple…when seeking a job; I realized that younger people had more education than I did. I’m in my 30’s. I then decided to go back to school and get my diploma.

I quit school in May 1994 – that date reminds me of the day when I made the biggest mistake of my life. I wish I could go back in time and stay in school. I keep thinking of all the time I wasted. But reality is, I can’t go back in time.
But finishing high school and attaining my high school diploma became my driving goal. However, the challenges I kept facing were 
    1) Transportation – paying for the bus pass 
    2) Getting enough rest. I sleep about 3 hours.

But I did it! I completed the SCC Adult High School program and received my diploma in May 2015. My mother couldn’t believe I was graduating with my high school diploma. She believed me only after seeing my diploma in my hands.

I started college classes at Santiago Canyon College in the Fall 2015.

I don’t believe I would have gone to college, if not for the strong encouragement of the counselors at SCC Division of Continuing Education. Through my introduction to college via the STARS program by Counselor Rosa Salazar De La Torre and Student Services Representative Isabel Garcia, they connected me to Juana Galvan from the EOPS program at SCC credit programs.

My goal is to become financially self sufficient. Once I graduate and start my work, I plan to return to SCC and offer scholarships to students. I want to focus on offering financial help to purchase bus passes to students that need them in order to get to SCC to complete their education.

For some people all they need to succeed in life, is a way to get to and from school. I know for me, that’s what I needed.

Right now, I am working on completing my general education classes. After I finish that, I’ll focus on what I want to do for my career. I want to specialize in Radiation Therapy. I researched careers and that led me to my selecting Radiation Therapy. It’s in great demand.

What I treasure the most from my experiences at Santiago Canyon College is the letter my instructor Ann Wu sent to me, asking me to return to school when I had dropped out of the Adult High School Diploma program/classes. That letter is what motivated me to visit the SCC Division of Continuing Education counseling office and speak to Rosa Salazar De La Torre. I explained to her that transportation was the reason I could not attend. Rosa immediately found a solution. And the rest is now part of my success story.

I will return to Santiago Canyon College once I finish my education and career goal….I want to return, as I stated before, but as a financial contributor. I want to see and help students reach their goals. I don’t want their inability to pay for bus passes to keep them from their goals.