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By Rosemarie Davis
City Times

It’s 7 o’clock in the evening and it’s time for her political science class, but she’s thinking about her toddler that won’t get over the flu, that it’s about time to get her oil changed, how much homework she has in her statistics class and the list goes on and on.

Debra Mundine, who raised her children before going back to school, knows what it’s like to have a full schedule, and will look back at her experience attending City College with appreciation. Her story is shared with many students who have grueling obligations outside of school and continue to be self motivated. They persevere through daily hardships to better themselves and the lives of the people around them.

About 15,000 students attend City College per year. These students come from diverse backgrounds with numerous responsibilities on top of going to school. The average age of City College students is 28, and it takes about 5 to 6 years to graduate, only one out of five actually graduate within two years. These facts can seem a bit discouraging to the student that is just starting out.

“What I’m proud of most is that I’ve grown a lot as a person and have changed my outlook on a lot of things,” said Mundine. She plans on going to San Diego State to major in social work, where she hopes to obtain her master’s degree. She would also like to find a position working for the county and would like to eventually work as a counselor for families and individuals.

It’s strange to think that this day came so soon yet at the same time seemed like it took an eternity to happen. For every good grade, for every exam passed, the completed classes of 2007 graduates have been silent victories until now; graduation day is the ultimate day of celebrating success.

“We want students to participate, enjoy, and celebrate their achievements,” Gail Rodriguez, graduation committee coordinator, says.

For those students who stuck with it and kept picking themselves up after spills on the way, June 1 at 6:30 p.m. is the day where they get to walk down the stage and accept their diplomas. According to Christina Monaco from the evaluations office, there are 874 students graduating with diplomas or certifications this year and most of the degrees, 153, are going to be issued for transfer studies. Also, 274 students are expected to participate in this year’s graduation at the Organ Pavilion.

Before graduation, there will be a commencement for transfer students that have been accepted to a four-year university on May 17 at 5 p.m. in room D-121.

So instead of the passing moment of happiness a student feels after accomplishing one task, graduating students will be able to share their accomplishments collectively. Together they have all shared similar hardships to make it this far and together they will continue to progress into the future.

“Education is an investment into oneself,” said City College President Terrence Burgess, who also said that the event is his favorite time of year. He is proud to be a part of the educational success of his students and the event itself, saying, “Graduation is the ultimate achievement and validation of that achievement.”

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