BY KRISTEN MCCARTHY
Photo Caption: Gabriela Gudiño Martinez, FYS Outreach Specialist; Melissa Casas, student speaker and Fred Songiorgio, counselor.
An academic recognition ceremony took place on May 2 in the Cravens Student Center at College of the Desert (COD) Palm Desert Campus. The ceremony was held to honor EOPS/CARE, CalWORKS and Foster Youth students who earned Dean’s List and Honor Roll during the Fall 2017 semester. The four programs served about 600 students last fall, with a record number, 192 students recognized for program academic honors at the celebration.
The Dean’s List is awarded to students who take 12 or more units and earn a 3.5 GPA and above. The Honor Roll is awarded to students who take 12 or more units and earn at least a 3.0 GPA. The students being honored were encouraged to invite family members to share with them in their accomplishments and enjoy lunch courtesy of COD. About 120 students and guests attended the luncheon.
The welcoming remarks for the ceremony were made by Interim Director, Steve Arbuckle; Vice President of Student Success, Dr.Annebelle Nery and Dean of Counseling Services, Amanda Phillips.
“This one-day celebration represents days, weeks, months and semesters of students accomplishing so much, juggling classes with work, family obligations and more,” explained Steve Arbuckle. He added that CalWORKs/EOPS/CARE/Foster Youth students should be particularly proud of earning higher GPAs and having higher certificate and degree completion rates when compared to other first generation students and the general COD student population.
This event included guest speakers who shared stories of their experiences at College of the Desert. Director of CalWORKs and a former EOPS student, Lisa Campbell, encouraged the students to persevere and stay true to their dreams.
The student speakers Melissa Casas, Kirianah Nelson and Stephen Enabler shared stories about challenges they have overcome and opportunities that await them. The guests spoke about the advantages of these programs. Many of the students are first generation college students who benefit greatly from these support systems.
Guest speaker Maria Herrera, an EOPS/CARE counselor at COD, shared her story with the audience and gave closing remarks for the ceremony.
EOPS/CARE, (Extended Opportunities Program Service), is designed to help students with economic disadvantages. They provide support by offering exclusive counseling, book vouchers, touring and other services. For students interesting in joining, the EOPS/CARE application for Fall 2018 became available May 7, 2018. Call EOPS at (760) 773-2539 or visit www.collegeofthedesert.edu.
CalWORKs is a state funded program which strives to help students earn educational certificates/degrees, while gaining experience that leads to sustainable employment. The goal is to help students become self sufficient. Any students who receive financial assistance from the county or state can apply for this program. Call (760) 862-1343 for more information.
Foster Youth provides support to current and former foster youth. Students in this program are provided priority registration, educational planning, assistance with grant applications and much more. To apply for this program call (760) 776-7498.
Congratulations to all of the students who received honors at the academic recognition ceremony and all of the College of the Desert graduates of the 2018 class.