ECC Compton Center students make their voices heard
COMPTON—El Camino College Compton Center students have garnered praise recently for their literary and scholarly efforts. Each year, the Humanities Division, Academic Affairs, and Office of Student Life sponsor an event and competition to recognize the artistic work published in the center’s literary and art journal.
A total of 20 students were honored in the “Voices of Compton,” which showcases examples of outstanding student work. Two students were named Presidential Scholars.
Receiving top honors for his essay “Is Compton Really All That Bad?” was English major Aaron Williams, who will begin his second year at the Center in the fall. He aspires to be an English professor, and said one of the driving forces behind his decision to pursue a career in academia is his passion for writing.
Williams recently received validation of his talent as a writer when his essay was not only published in “Voices of Compton,” but also took first place in the essay category.
In his essay, Williams uses imagery to show a different perspective of his hometown and paints a picture that allows readers to see the city of Compton through his eyes. Compton’s Kelly Park Recreational Area is known to be inhabited by a street gang, but Williams wrote, “That never stopped me from walking there with my old, beat-up basketballs to shoot around by myself.” He continued, “The feeling on this court is electric; sometimes I think I can feel my skin tingling. My senses are heightened; I can feel every individual bump on the ball’s surface, and smell every musky, wet blade of grass.”
Williams plans a career teaching writing because he believes it is a very fulfilling and necessary form of expression. “Writing is an outlet and a tool that can influence others and, for this reason, it is really important to me that I help my community understand its power.”
Williams was one of several students whose writings and artistic works were published in the 4th annual edition of “Voices of Compton.” Prizes were also awarded by the ECC Compton Center Humanities Division recognizing exceptional academic and creative work in five categories: Essays, Painting, Sketches, Poetry and Spoken Word Art.
The 2011-2012 edition of Voices of Compton may be read in its entirety at: www.compton.edu/docs/VOC2012.pdf.
See sidebar for a list of honorees by category.
LaTasia Floyd and Rebeca Miranda were honored at the Annual Academic Awards Tea as the 2012 Presidential Scholars.
Floyd was the 2012 student commencement speaker during the ceremony on June 7. She graduated in June with a cumulative GPA of 3.8, and was accepted to California State University Long Beach in the fall to continue her studies in psychology. At an early age, she decided to become a psychologist so she could help put individuals on a path toward contentment and accomplishment.
She describes herself as a “straight A” student who regularly volunteered for leadership positions in her youth. She has a passion for dance and giving back to at-risk youth, which has led her to work as a recreational leader for the city of Lynwood and a dance coach for the city’s free Theatre in the Community program.
After graduating from Lynwood High School with honors, Floyd was unable to attend a four-year university because of financial instability and lack of a family support system to guide her. She enrolled at El Camino College Compton Center in fall 2010 and received financial aid with the help of counselors and the Financial Aid Office staff.
Floyd connected with her professors at the Center and credits them as being great motivators as well as providing the academic skills necessary to achieve her educational goals. They encouraged her to set high expectations for herself and she graduated from ECC Compton Center with the confidence to not only meet those expectations, but exceed them.
Rebeca Miranda has always believed in the American dream. Now, with the help of the Compton Center and its student support services, she is on her way to making that dream a reality.
She recently graduated with an associate degree in nursing and plans to transfer to a university to earn a bachelor’s degree needed to become a registered nurse.
Miranda came to the United States from Mexico with the dream of one day enrolling in college, but that goal was continuously put on hold as a result of challenges in her personal life. She is a single mother, with no support system in this country, who has survived domestic mistreatment and a language barrier. She worked three jobs in order to pay her bills and provide for her two children.
Despite all of these hardships, Miranda never lost sight of her dream of enrolling at El Camino College Compton Center. That day finally came, and with the support of an English-speaking friend, Miranda enrolled in her classes. She said Center’s Extended Opportunity Program & Services (EOP&S) program played a significant role in assisting her.
EOP&S helps low-income and educationally-disadvantaged students achieve their educational goals. The program encourages the enrollment, retention and transfer of students who are challenged by language, social, economic and educational disadvantages. As a supplement component of EOP&S, Cooperative Agencies Resources for Education (CARE) students receive special counseling and advisement, orientation, personal development, support services, workshops of interest to single parents, assistance with purchasing books and supplies, child care referrals and information, and campus- and communitybased referrals.
Miranda’s two children have seen how college has changed their mother’s life, and they now dream of following in her footsteps. “My kids want to study at ECC Compton Center because they say they want to be like me,” said Miranda. “And, that makes me very proud.”