MiraCosta College students Rita Viland and Carlos Castro are Exhibit A and Exhibit B as to why the state Assembly recently designated April as California Community College Month.
Castro, just a few years ago, was expelled from high school, sidetracked by substance abuse, and had little interest in education. Thanks to MiraCosta College, the PUENTE Program, and Castro’s involvement with the MiraCosta College soccer team, he is earning an associate of arts degree in liberal arts with an emphasis in social and behavioral sciences this spring. He hopes to transfer to a University of California campus this fall, and he is determined to earn a Ph.D. in English and launch a career as an English professor—preferably at MiraCosta College.
“Being involved in school, being engaged in class, it just made me feel like I belonged, it made me feel good about myself,” Castro said.
Viland, born in the Transylvanian city of Oradea, originally came to MiraCosta College for its English Language Institute that offers international students the opportunity to improve their proficiency in English. That led to her enrolling in MiraCosta College’s Global Studies program that was launched last fall. Viland graduates in May with a certificate in Global Studies and is looking at possibly returning to a career in broadcasting. Furthering her education and securing a bachelor’s degree from a local university isn’t off the table, either.
“The people who work at MiraCosta have gone out of their way to try to help me navigate the challenges that you can find when you’re here on a student visa,” said Viland, 33. “I feel like I’m being supported by everybody.”
Introduced by state Assemblymember Monique Limon, the California Assembly on April 11 unanimously approved a resolution recognizing April as California Community College Month. The resolution notes that California’s 115 community colleges are leaders in higher education and workforce training with more than 2.1 million students in all.
“Rather than defining our worth by whom we exclude from our institutions, California’s community colleges practice a radical inclusivity that offers the diverse peoples of our state the opportunity to pursue quality postsecondary education from Chula Vista to the Siskiyous,” said Larry Galizio, president and CEO of the Community College League of California.