Across the state of CA, EOPS has a motto, which begins “Born From The Dream”. It references the story we’ve highlighted with you today, of the Nickel and the Nail.
The significance of the motto is also deeply rooted in our history. In 1963, during the heart of the civil rights movement, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered a powerful speech to our nation in which he stated “I have a Dream” and it encompassed the vision of equality. Dr. MLK Jr. was tragically assassinated in 1968 and civil unrest exploded.
Across college campuses, students demanded that they were provided with the support they needed. It had been a long, long road, then less than a year after Dr. King’s death, CA Senate Bill 164, also known as “The Urgency Legislation” was passed, and EOPS was “Born from the Dream”. The 2nd half of our EOPS motto, is “Keep The Dream Alive”. This nation’s vision of equal access to education, which is the heart of EOPS, is exemplified by our Student of the Year.
Raised by a single mother, and accompanied by young siblings, this student was constantly moving from place to place, across the country by bus, in and out of homeless shelters, looking for a place to call home. In 1998, the family arrived in Redding and found shelter at the Good News Rescue Mission. For the first time, this person had the opportunity for the life changing experience that was most desired, a proper education. School always fascinated this student, and even in elementary and middle school, the rigorous subjects of math and science were always favorite classes.
The challenge led to a sense of personal pride when the student would consistently receive recognition through the Principal’s Honor Roll. So at a very young age, this student was already wondering what majors and careers included math and science.
In high school, a career seminar led this student to research the field of pharmacy, which requires years of commitment to education. After graduating high school, this student had to make the most difficult decision in life so far, to cut ties with people who were negatively impacting The Dream for a college education. An additional challenge occurred when this student chose the goal of pharmacy technician, because it is not funded by EOPS, TRiO or FAFSA. Why have a goal that is not funded by our resources? To make The Dream a reality! This student had been working at K-Mart since his sophomore year of high school to save money for pharmacy tech school so that he could begin working in his field as a technician and save for his doctorate degree in pharmacy. Now that is a man with a plan!
He remained completely committed to his goal as he continued to work at KMart, attended the pharmacy tech program on the weekends for six months, and also carried a full time load at Shasta College, taking pre-med courses to become a pharmacist.
After finishing the pharmacy tech. program, he successfully passed his exam for certification and is now employed at Shopko as a pharmacy technician! The pharmacists at Shopko say that he always gives more than 100% at everything he does and even state that he has the potential to positively impact the entire field of pharmacology.
Anthony has completed 71 units at Shasta College and continues the tradition he began in elementary school: every semester, he has been on the Deans’ list, taking 13-18 units, and has earned an overall GPA of 3.87. And how about those grade school favorites of math and science? In addition to taking calculus, calculus, and more calculus within that 3.87 GPA, he has taken 3 chemistry courses, zoology, biology, and physics, with an astonishing 4.0! In addition to proving he is dedicated to his academics and career, Anthony is also committed to his community. He volunteers at the Good News Rescue Mission, where he was provided his first stable living situation as a young child in Redding.
He shared, “I never really had the chance to be a kid. I’ve been in situations a kid should never have to go through and have seen things that no child should ever have to see”.
His life experience shaped the values of hard work and ambition that set him on the path of education as his number one priority. He says, “I want college to be an option for my future children and if I can achieve that, my life goal will be complete”.
During the Student of the Year process, Anthony expressed gratitude to many, including his instructor Dr. Abts, the pharmacists he works with, and the EOPS and TRiO programs; but he reserves the honor of most influential mentor for his brother Jerry.
At this time we ask Jerry to the stage to present Anthony with his plaque for Student of the Year. We would like you to know that Jerry is a Shasta College EOPS alumni and TRiO student, who has been accepted to UC Davis’ pre-veterinarian program.
CONGRATULATIONS Anthony! And thank you for inspiring all of us to “Keep the Dream Alive”!
-Dr. Keri Hom and Jeanette Velasquez
Ten years had passed for this student from the time she graduated high school until the time she started attending SC. In that time, she began working, and said, “I just couldn’t see having the time for school. Then I started my family and it seemed even more out of reach. It got to the point where the thought of college was horrifying”.
Then, two years ago, two life-changing events occurred: her relationship with the father of her children ended and she became a single mother of two, who were then 2 and 4 years old; and her mother relapsed with her 2nd bout with leukemia.
She put everything on hold to care for her mother. She says, “before she lost her battle, my mother made me promise I would finally go back to school”. Less than one month after her mother’s passing, our CARE Student of the Year, Jessica McCay, completed the application process and enrolled at Shasta College.
We’d like to share some of this amazing woman’s accomplishments:
- She is completing her 4th semester at SC and thus far she has been on the Dean’s list every semester and has earned an overall GPA of 3.92!
- Her Associates degree from SC will be in Early Childhood Education and she has already completed the coursework required for the ECE certificate.
- For the past year, she has been a member of the student club ECEN, the Early Childhood Educator’s Network.
- Through ECEN, Jessica has been actively involved in fundraisers, food drives, and book drives.
- Jessica is grateful for the opportunities provided through Club ECEN, which even includes the opportunity to participate in a grant committee for First 5 Shasta.
- As a way to give back to the club, she will continue her involvement next semester as the recently been elected the Club’s President!
During her Student of the Year interview, Jessica proposed the innovative idea for ECEN to partner with our CARE program in order to offer more comprehensive services to our single parents who are balancing the multiple responsibilities of being single parents and full-time students. We are very excited to pursue this endeavor!
In addition to showing her commitment to her field through ECEN, Jessica has already been recognized as a valuable educator by her mentors, the SC ECE instructors. Her student teaching evaluations commend her as “a very hard worker who is a natural with children”.
Jessica is on her way to achieving her long term career goal as an elementary school teacher who works with children who have special needs. She plans to continue to work on her bachelor’s degree while working as a pre-school teacher.
Jessica says, “My two children are the driving force behind my efforts to succeed in college. I want to not only be able to provide for them, but to set a much needed example for them. It is very important to me that my children understand the importance of hard work and dedication, as well as the importance of education”.
It is truly beautiful to see Jessica with her children. Earlier we heard Jessica’s instructor and mentor Linda McBride attest to her natural gift with children. At this time we’d like to ask Linda to present Jessica with her plaque for student of the year.
We are fortunate to have Jessica McCay as a dedicated educator in our community. THANK YOU and CONGRATULATIONS!
-Dr. Keri Hom