2014 EOPS STUDENT OF THE YEAR
JOSEPH SOTO HOCKENBERRY
As with many of the finalists we interviewed, Joseph did not start out looking like a promising scholar, barely completing high school with a 1.69 grade point average. Fast-forward 15 years and he currently has a GPA of 3.96 even when enrolled in 15-18 units a semester. Joseph is a member of the Phi Theta kappa Honor Society, and has been on the Dean's List for three semesters. Having endured prejudice and racial slurs as a young person, he turned these experiences into advocacy and protection for others, recently volunteering at a local community agency serving women's health needs.
The motivation to return to school came after a time of unemployment when he decided that going to college would provide something to do every day. The first year was a challenge, but after finding the EOPS program and being successful as a student, Joseph returned to an earlier passion - Art. When asked what personal qualities other EOPS students could see in him, the answer was "Perseverance, tenacious, learn to forgive yourself." He said - "EOPS is about 2nd chances. College was an opportunity to reinvent myself and allow me to pursue a fulfilling career."
One of the qualities that impressed the interview committee most was the way Joseph could identify specific skills that were developed directly from classes at Shasta College, such as public speaking and civic engagement. In addition, he used his creative skills to design a Prezi presentation that was presented to the whole Board of Directors for the Women's Health Specialists. Joseph was also a recipient of the 2013 Coca-Cola Leaders of Promise Scholarship.
Graduating Spring 2014, he has been accepted to 3 CSU campuses next fall. Congratulations to Joseph Soto Hockenberry, our EOPS Student of the Year, selected unanimously by the interview committee.
2014 CARE STUDENT OF THE YEAR
Crystal began her college experience at the College of the Siskiyous with the uncertainty of how she ever graduated from high school. After a few unsuccessful semesters full of doubt, fear and despair, Crystal was put on academic probation. Her life began to spiral out of control and a short time later, she had a young child to raise and her future now had a different meaning.
She was making life choices that included drugs and alcohol and Child Protective Service took her infant away. She said, "That was the turning point...Life became REAL!"
She recalls this time as "A crossroad in her life, with the fate of her only child hanging in the balance." Rehabilitation was the only option and for the next several months she painfully combed through her life. She feared she would never secure an identity outside of a criminal, a druggie or thief.
She recalls her recovery to the remodel of a home. Tearing out nearly everything and slowly and carefully began rebuilding a foundation. She began to expand and create something she never imagined. All she owned was her faith in GOD, a great attitude and the will to succeed at anything she put her mind to. With incredible will and strength she regained custody of her son.
In 2011, she enrolled into Shasta College EOPS/CARE. She was now prepared and was supported with academic counseling/advising and financial support to encourage her to succeed. In her first semester in EOPS she earned a 3.96 grade point average and continues to make tremendous academic strides. To date she has earned 20 A's and 7 B's and is anticipating a 4.0 grade point average for Spring 2014. On May 23, 2014 she will graduate with honors and transfer to Simpson University and complete a Bachelor's degree in Psychology.
Her dream is to become a Hospice CARE Coordinator/Grief Counselor because of her strong spiritual connection to the field. While attending Shasta College she has earned over 18 Shasta College Scholarships. Most importantly, has established a new identity as an Academic Scholar, Survivor and NOW...2014 CARE Student of the YEAR!! Congratulations Crystal!