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Posts Tagged Class of 2014

Outstanding Grads of the Class of 2014: Meet Mariela Salcedo

29 May 2014

Mariela Salcedo

At Merritt College, several students from the Puente Program are graduating, including Mariela Salcedo, who will be transferring to UC Davis as a pre-med student. Puente’s mission is to increase the number of underrepresented students who enroll in four-year colleges and universities.

Mariela was pursuing a nursing degree until instructors urged her to consider a career as a doctor. Mariela was co-president of Puente Club and a Puente Program Assistant. She would like to create pathways for more female Mexican-American students to get into medicine. Ambitious and compassionate, Mariela will, without a doubt, reach her dream of becoming a top medical doctor.

Filed under: Announcements, Merritt College, Peralta News. Tagged: , , , , ,

Outstanding Grads of the Class of 2014: Meet Paul Martinez

29 May 2014

Paul Martinez

Paul Martinez, one of several graduating students from Merritt College’s Puente Program, made the brave decision to uproot himself from everything that was familiar to him at home in Santa Barbara. Paul, who will be going to UCLA in the fall, moved to Oakland and soon joined the strong, supportive community at Merritt.

Paul grew up quite poor and often felt out of place as though the world had forgotten about him. Now, he a writing tutor in the Learning Center and everyone expresses what a pleasure it is to work with him.  He is a gentle soul with a great deal of wisdom.

Filed under: Announcements, Merritt College, Peralta News. Tagged: , , , , ,

Outstanding Grads of the Class of 2014: Meet Marisela Ochoa

29 May 2014

Marisela Ochoa

Marisela Ochoa, a graduating student from Merritt’s Puente Program, will be transferring to UC Berkeley. As a member of the Puente Club, Marisela is conscious of injustice to workers and has spoken out against low wages for supermarket employees. She is breaking barriers as a Chicana pursuing her own dreams of attaining a higher education.

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Outstanding Grads of the Class of 2014: Meet Valentino Calderon

28 May 2014


Valentino Calderon, outgoing president of the Associated Students of Berkeley City College (ASBCC), plans to transfer to UC Berkeley’s College of Engineering. Fascinated by the potential of integrating brain-computer interfaces to help people overcome cognitive disabilities, his major will be Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.

While at Berkeley City College, Calderon has maintained a 4.0 GPA and was concurrently enrolled in classes at Cal while attending BCC. Achieving college success was not without obstacles. While a sophomore in high school, Mr. Calderon suffered a brain injury that affected his cognitive abilities.

“Academics, something that once came so easily, became an everyday challenge,” he recalled. “But my cognitive disabilities served as my motivation for excelling in college.”

Following in his brothers’ footsteps, Mr. Caldron decided to begin his higher education at a community college. He moved to Berkeley from Southern California and entered Berkeley City.

As president of ASBCC, Mr. Calderon advocated for creating the position of campus life director at all four Peralta Colleges. He also instituted bimonthly town hall meetings and oversaw a complete revision of ASBCC’s constitution, student body elections, and organized the first student candidate debates on campus.

“There are no limits; there are only plateaus,” he said. “With the right support, I can achieve new bounds and create new realities.”

Filed under: Announcements, Berkeley City College, Peralta News. Tagged: , , , , , , ,

Outstanding Grads of the Class of 2014: Meet Emily Carver

28 May 2014

Emily Carter

Meet Emily Carver, who for the past two years has earned high academic honors on top of being a stand-out volleyball player for the College of Alameda Cougar women’s volleyball team. Emily has maintained an overall 3.95 GPA for the past four semesters while participating on the Cougars women’s volleyball team. During the last three semesters, she has maintained a 4.0 GPA. Those 4.0s were earned while competing on the College of Alameda women’s volleyball team.

A team player, Emily was selected co-team captain and received awards in 2012 and 2013 for “Best Offensive Player,” and was voted to the 2013 Bay Valley Conference First Team.

Emily has not only been an excellent student and a member of the Cougar women’s volleyball team, for the past two years, she is also been an ASCOA member and held a club officer’s position (vice-president) for the COA Volleyball Club. The volleyball club was inducted in 2011; inspired by the Cougar women’s volleyball head coach, Linda Thompson, as a way to ensure the team gives back to the community by providing an opportunity for them to mentor young girls and assist in helping at volleyball clinics for girls ages 10-14.

In her very little spare time, Emily also coaches a girls youth volleyball club team and holds down a part-time job.

Emily has been accepted to several universities and colleges. However, in fall semester 2014, she plans to attend Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach, Florida where she will major in nursing and play volleyball for the Division 1 B-C Wildcats.

On top of all that, Emily was valedictorian at last week’s graduation ceremony!

Filed under: Announcements, College of Alameda, Peralta News. Tagged: , , , , , ,

Outstanding Grads of the Class of 2014: Meet Érika Padilla-Morales

23 May 2014

Erika Padilla MoralesÉrika Padilla-Morales  is a nontraditional Laney College student who hails from Puerto Rican roots. Her academic career was reignited in 2011 after a decade of working with underserved youth in the classroom. She wants to translate this professional experience to the healthcare field and serve young people living with cancer. Her goal to work in pediatric oncology has begun with volunteering at UCSF’s Osher Center for Integrative Medicine in their Communitas Program and will continue as she earns her bachelor’s degree in Nuclear Medicine.

Érika thanks her Laney family, including APASS, TRiO, DSPS and Gateway to College programs for supporting her growth as a scholar. They helped her tap into a peer and mentor network passionate about education. She balances her academic work by doing outreach for the Peralta Colleges and volunteering for Bay Area health, arts and food justice organizations. she has found much joy in the comfort of Laney’s dance community and the hospitality of the Laney Bistro.

Graduating tomorrow with Laney College’s Class of 2014, Érika once thought she was incapable of academic work. Through the encouragement of instructors and administrators and inspired by the thousands of young people she has served in the Bay Area, she has exceeded her own expectations. Érika was a 2013 California Academic Team Member and received several scholarships from the Peralta Colleges Foundation, including the Oakland Promise and Foundation Scholars awards.

She is honored to be selected as a 2014 Dean’s Medallion recipient and is proud to stand with her fellow Eagles as a member of the Class of 2014. Érika appreciates Laney College and all of the Peralta Colleges for its dedication to omnis enim scientia — knowledge for all.

Filed under: Announcements, Laney College, Peralta News. Tagged: , , , ,

Outstanding Grads of the Class of 2014: Meet Selma Elsiddig Adam

21 May 2014

Selma Adam

Meet Selma Elsiddig Adam, an outstanding member of the Class of 2014.

Selma grew up in Sudan where going to college was a day dream that she believed would never come true, especially for a girl who wants to major in Computer Engineering. Selma writes that when she was 13 years she would sneak around and take one of the books her sister brought home up to the roof, and sit for hours, reading them and trying to understand why the contents were so difficult to understand: and it was not until her that first introduced her to codes.

Leaving Sudan to come to the United States for the sake of a better education wasn’t easy; and it was made even more difficult by those who made Selma feel as if she was not welcome.  Selma remembers the time when she was on her way to visit UC Berkeley when an old, homeless man threw leftover food at her and shouted “You do not belong here; go back to where you came from.” It wasn’t the first time that Selma was victimized by such hate speech; however, she was so mad this particular day that she went home and started to cry as she wanted to go back to her country.  Having given the incident some additional thought, she decided that these kinds of challenges made her stronger and more determined to reach her goal of getting an education

Selma is well on her way to accomplishing her goal.  She will graduate Spring 2014 with a 3.86 grade point average from College of Alameda with an AS degree in Mathematics.  She has been accepted at UC Berkeley, UC Irvine, UC Davis, San Francisco State, San Jose State and CSU East Bay.  Once she decides where she will transfer she will pursue a BS degree in Software Engineering.  Selma is the recipient of several scholarships and recently was awarded the Loretta Hernandez Scholarship.  When asked about her accomplishments, Selma responds “I am proud that I came this far in achieving my goals, and I will not quit now. I value education, for it is the only chance I have, and that is why no one who has lived an easy life will understand what it is like to make your way to the top with the only chance you have: education.”

Selma lives in Oakland and she and her friend are using technology in hopes of making people in Oakland aware of the situations happening around them and how it affects them and their children by giving them access to the information that has posted on the website that they are building. The project’s goal is to inform people about the violence and encourage them to help us hold meetings and committees to take actions to stop the violence. Selma indicated that “being a part of this project taught me how to be responsible for my community and help others, and with this project, I will strengthen my skills and help my community at the same time.”

Filed under: Announcements, Peralta News. Tagged: , , , ,

Outstanding Grads of the Class of 2014: Meet Herman Roque

21 May 2014

Herman Rogue

Meet Herman Roque, an outstanding member of the Class of 2014.

Herman is completing the two-year Community Social Services Program this spring at Merritt College. He earned a 3.47 GPA and received the Strong Start Award last spring.

In addition, Herman, pictured with his counselor, Mary Rose Ciddio, M.A., received the Career & Technical Education and the Hardship/Challenge scholarships on Wednesday, May 14. He has also been recently inducted into Phi Theta Kappa and he plans to continue on to earn his Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology with a Registered Addiction Specialist credential, ultimately becoming a substance abuse counselor.

It is difficult to sum up Herman’s outstanding story, but he tells it well in the essay he wrote, below, which earned him his 2014 scholarships.

Congratulations Herman!


The Man I Wan To Be

My name is Herman Roque Jr. I am a 46 year old 4th semester student in the Community Social Services program. I am also a husband, father and grandfather. My story is filled with regret, tragedy, and ultimately, triumph.

For over two decades I endured the torture of addiction. I was what society calls a functioning addict, but in actuality, it was anything but functioning. I thought by maintaining a job that everything was fine; no one would notice. As it turned out, most everyone knew. I thought by participating in my son’s little league, along with all the other things associated with normal family life, everything was great. But behind that façade my life was in turmoil. I was not being the man I wanted to be.

One day in October 2006, I was suffering from an intense backache, so I went to the Emergency Room. One doctor attributed it to a muscle pull, but another doctor thought it could be something else; he wanted to do more extensive testing. I accepted the opinion of the first doctor and went home. Three days later the pain worsened, so I decided to return to the E.R. Before I went I wanted to take a shower. It was then that I noticed the weakness in my legs-so weak that I had to shower sitting at the edge of the tub. I managed to get out of the shower, but I had to hold on to the walls to keep from falling. When I reached the foot of my bed, I collapsed. The next thing I remembered was a doctor hovering over me apologizing. He said, “I’m sorry to beat on you, but it was to save your life”. When I tried to respond, I realized I could not speak. The reason for this was I had a tracheotomy. To compound the situation, I also had respiratory failure, kidney failure, and was paralyzed from the neck down. I was only able to breathe with the help of a ventilator. I was not exactly sure what was happening; all I knew was that I was very frightened.

It turned out that my drug use had given me a blood infection. I spent the next year in the Intensive Care Unit. Just when I didn’t think things could get any worse; my doctors called for a family meeting. The doctor somberly closed the door and said, “Mr. Roque you are not getting any better; you are going to die in this hospital. Do you want to continue dialysis, or do you want us to make you comfortable?” That was a very difficult pill to swallow. Many things come to mind when you’re facing imminent death. I thought to myself “This is it? This is how my story ends?” After I got over the initial shock, I started writing my will. The most disheartening thing about that was it was very short. I thought I had all the time in the world, but as it turns out, you never know what tomorrow will bring.

It was at this time I knew that I was no longer the prisoner of any substance. Never again would I put my family or myself through the horrors of addiction. I knew then and there that I would never use again!

When most people find themselves in a life and death situation, the first thing they do is start bargaining with their higher power. I was no exception. I promised if I ever left the hospital, I would not let this ordeal be in vain; I would help someone else.

Now, all I had to do was get myself out of the hospital. It turned out to be easier said than done. The road to recovery was a long and hard one, but through intense therapy, I was able to regain most of my upper extremities. Eventually, I would even breathe on my own. Finally, on May 27th, 2009, after 2 years and 7 months, I was healthy enough to leave the hospital. Even though I was now in a wheelchair and had to do hemodialysis, I was alive. I knew that the worst day at home is better than the best day in the hospital.

Once I arrived home, it was time to keep my end of the bargain. Having dropped out of out of High School, I knew it would not be easy. The first thing I did was enroll in Adult School. After one year I earned my GED and was the commencement speaker at the graduation ceremony. Now, I am in my second year at Merritt College earning a 3.47 GPA in pursuit of a Master’s Degree in Sociology with a Registered Addiction Specialist (RAS) credential. I have also been accepted into Phi Theta Kappa (an honor society).

While I am here, I’m trying to enjoy the journey; all the while being an unofficial advisor to help the newer students make the transition into college life. I also discovered that I like learning; through education I feel whole. I feel like people understand me here. When I’m in school, people don’t see a man in a wheelchair; they just see a man.

In hindsight, becoming paralyzed was one of the best things that ever happened to me; it gave me freedom. In the past, living a normal life was just a pipe dream. Now it’s become a reality.

These days my life is great! I stay busy with school and studying for the Addiction Counseling Exam. I’m also interning at Second Chance – a counseling center in my community that addresses substance abuse. I know I have a long way to go, but with my new found confidence, I know I will get there.

Someone once told me there are three things in life every person needs: someone to love; something to do, and something to look forward to. Now, I have all three. Things are finally going my way. I am truly being the man I want to be!

Filed under: Announcements, Peralta News. Tagged: , , , ,

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