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STUDENT SUCCESS STORIES

SUNE AGHAKIAN

SUNE AGHAKIAN
AS-T in Business Administration
Transferring to: UC Berkeley
Major: Economics

GCC helped me get to where I want to be by providing me with unique opportunities and resources. Over the last 2 years, I was on campus for nearly 12 hours every day pushing myself in both academics and my leadership roles. I would have not been able to do any of this if it wasn't for the support I got from my counselors, professors and advisors. GCC allowed me to successfully transfer and get into numerous universities I was not able to get into as a high school senior. 


Ivis-Gutierrez Lopez

IVIS-GUTIERREZ LOPEZ
Men's Soccer 2018-19
Transferring to: Kansas Wesleyan University
Major: Public Relations

I want to thank GCC all the opportunities if has provided me over the last 3 years. I am proud to be graduating and moving forward to Kansas Wesleyan University. I could not have done it without your support.


Bella Kirakosyan

BELLA KIRAKOSYAN
AA-T in History and Political Science
Transferring to: UCLA 
Major: History

The past two years at GCC have taught me that nothing is impossible. The only limits that exist are those we put on ourselves. So speak up, educated yourself, and work hard because your words and actions can make change happen. Thank you to the faculty, staff, and administration of GCC for always giving students a platform to express ourselves, our community’s concerns and make the unthinkable possible.


GERARDO (GERRY) RAMIREZ

GERARDO (GERRY) RAMIREZ
Transferring to: UCSD
Major: Sociology

Born in Granada Hills, CA. and raised in San Fernando, CA. Attended a diverse high school (Granada Hills Charter HS). Born to a Mexican family, first generation American and first generation college student. Majoring in Sociology at UCSD starting in the Fall 2020, with a walk on opportunity for the baseball team. 

I chose GCC because of the unique opportunities it presented me. Although athletics presented a great way to be involved in extracurricular activities, the academic resources that GCC offers students is unmatched. The supportive faculty and staff made my transition from high school easy, and propelled me forward as a first generation college student. The academic opportunities that GCC presented me with allowed for me to get into universities that I was not able to get into previously. I am thankful for the opportunities that my coaches and professors have presented me with, and will continue to strive for greatness as I move from GCC to a four year university. 


Noreen Angeli Calleja

NOREEN ANGELI CALLEJA
Certificate: Restaurant Management

GCC has impacted my life by preserving through tough times with classes.My professors have supported me in my years of being a student in GCC because they always give me advice that I can do anything I want in life. My counselor have helped me feel more positive towards my goals in GCC because they always ask how I am doing with my classes and they always tell me that they are there for me if I need something or need to talk about things that bother me. When my friends have switched colleges I learned how to be more happier and independent on my own.Then I have met new friends in classes I took and they are very nice to me. In short GCC has taught me to be stronger as a person and as a student overall.


WILLIAM MEYERS

WILLIAM MEYERS
Certificate: Addiction Studies Counseling

After almost 40 years in the building and construction field my body just wore out. In January of 2015 I woke up and could not move! I became permanently disabled and could no longer work at what I knew best. Finally after 18 months of long term disability I decided to go back to school and learn a new career, at age 59.The path I chose was GCC's Addiction Studies program and I enrolled in my first class in Spring 2017. This was probably one of the best moves I have made in my life, behind Marriage and children, as I was now able to pursue the College degree that I left behind in 1978 in order to work. so here I am, age 62 and getting my AS degree at GCC!!! My desire is to serve to those in our society that are lost and need help and I believe that I CAN help them Thanks to the Professor's Salazar, Scalice, Redmon, et. al...,in the Addiction Studies program at GCC.


Trisha Koury-Stoops

TRISHA KOURY-STOOPS
AS-T in Psychology
Transferring to: CSUN
Major: Psychology

I am a returning student who had little to no confidence in my ability to achieve my dream in getting my degree in the first place, much less transferring to one day becoming a psychologist. Making the first step on the campus was both scary and life changing. First of all, GCC helped me discover that I had a math disability and test anxiety. Wow, who knew! I was immediately set up with support, a roadmap on where I was heading, and how to successfully arrive. Well, my first semester, I got 3.0 GPA, going full time, with a math class no less. Because of the support and resources at GCC, I was able to kick off my journey strong and build on that each semester. Every professor, resource, counselor, and mentors gave me the tools, confidence, and help to get me where I am today! Being involved on campus was another way to really set the stage of success above and beyond my wildest dreams. I was accepted and successfully completed the Scholars Program. I held a cabinet positions, was a SPARK mentor, STAR facilitator teaching diversity, created and led a mental healthy group "Let's Chat", member of Brain & Mind Club and Mentor Reentry Club. I am soon receiving my AA degree in psychology and transferring to CSUN in fall with a 3.27 GPA. Thank you so much GCC!! I am going to miss all of you and beyond grateful to everyone on and off campus!


Courtney Johnson

COURTNEY JOHNSON
Transferring to: USC
Major: Communication & Psychology

Although my time at GCC was short, it was a semester full of opportunities, resources, and support. Starting anything new in life can be overwhelming, but when I joined the volleyball team, they immediately made me feel welcome and apart of the GCC community. Soon after, the team became my family (or “ohana” as coach likes to say) and campus became a comfortable space where I could be social and focus on academics. Overall, GCC, as an experience and community, helped me successfully transition to college life at USC and build my confidence in new situations.


Malleli RicaldeMALLELI RICALDE
AA-T in Kinesiology
Transferring to: CSUN
Major: Kinesiology

Glendale Community College's professors, counselors, and staff are infective with positivity and liveliness. They pushed me to be the best student I can be and helped me reach my fullest potential. With their guidance and support, I was able to come back to school after a 10 year hiatus with an eagerness to achieve academic success. I am proud to graduate with a GPA that made me competitive to get accepted to UC Merced, UC Irvine and UCLA as well as all the Cal States I applied to. Thank you GCC for having a beautiful campus filled with challenging courses and wonderful professors that made me a better student and overall person.


TAMAR BEDROS
AA-T in Kinesiology
Transferring to: CAL STATE LA
Major: Registered Nurse
Minor: Visual Art 2D

GCC impacted my life by giving me a path to learning a new language which totally brings a light into my life. I’m a very passionate person and always work hard to pursue more education. I love schooling a lot and any time I was struggling, I pushed myself to learn from mistakes and not repeat them. I never gave up on anything. GCC gave me a strong foundation of higher education and opened doors to get more advanced degrees. I’m really thankful for all the professors, staff and everyone else working to make GCC a perfect place for students!


Reneh ManoukiRENEH MANOUKI
AS-T in Business Administration
Transferring to: CAL STATE LA
Major: Management

GCC has impacted my life in many ways. With the support and guidance of staff, professors, and counselors, I was able to be successful in my educational journey. I am very proud to be accepted into 4 CSU's; Northridge, Los Angeles, Long Beach, and Pomona!

My most memorable moment was the first day I stepped into GCC back in Fall 2016 and sat in my very first college class!

Thank you GCC for an amazing unforgettable journey during the past 4 years, Go Vaqueros!


ANI SAROYAN
AA-T in Sociology
Transferring to: UC Santa Barbara
Major: Sociology

Ani credits her great professors who have positively challenged her, and contributed to her success. The EOPS program has also helped her throughout her journey to accomplish her goals, from the moment she began GCC. She said she will always be thankful for the support, counseling and help she has received.

Ani states that “The key to success is being motivated and goal oriented.”


Veronica CurielVERONICA CURIEL
AA-T in Political Science
Transferring to: CSUN
Major: Political Science

Helping community members and educating them about their citizenship rights sparked her interest in Political Science. Veronica hopes to one day become a lawyer working within international relations or human rights.

She hopes that all students find their true passion. “Never give up! There are so many resources available and many different pathways to achieving your goals.”


MANAR AL RAYYS
AS Degree in Child Development

Manar is forever grateful for the support and services she has received at GCC. She proudly shared, “without the experiences at GCC, I would not have been where I am today.” 

She is beyond thankful to EOPS which provided her with financial, educational and emotional support. She says her counselor, Roxanne Rafii, constantly encourages her to continue to advance her education. Manar will continue taking classes required to transfer to a university for her bachelor’s degree. She is very proud of all that she has accomplished in the last five years. Her love of teaching children motivates her to continue her education.


Jessica JordanJESSICA JORDAN
AS Degree in Child Development

I was filled with great joy when I received word that I have earned an Associate Degree in Child Development from Glendale Community College. I am the first in my family to earn a college degree. I thank God for all those who have made my dreams come true! I would also like to say many thanks to those counselors, mentors in Instructional Assistance Center, and teachers who have put in great faith in me to succeed and had not given up on me.

Thank You Glendale Community College without the wonderful staff here, I would have been lost in the system. Now I can truly be a SOMEBODY. Shout-Out to the whole DSPS department and counselors THANK YOU! for all the help you given me and helped me in succeeding to graduate college.


Gloria BianchiGLORIA BIANCHI
AA-T in Kinesiology
Transferring to: University of St. Katherine in San Diego
Major: Kinesiology

My experience in the US was supposed to end the year before I started at Glendale, and if it hadn't been for coach V, I would be in Italy right now. She contacted me out of nowhere asking me to come play for Glendale. I was not sure I wanted to stay because I was far from my family and because of the costs, but I got convinced to give it a shot. The first time I came to visit GCC, it was around April and there was nobody around school, because everybody was gone for spring break. I loved it from the very beginning, it was so green and so peaceful; a beautiful school built on the side of a hill facing the city. That was the first time I saw GCC and that was enough to make me realize that I wanted to spend the next two years there. At first I fell in love with the view but after these 2 years I can say that the view is probably the last thing I will remember when looking back at my experience here. I came to Glendale not knowing what to expect, everything was new, but little did I know that I had the best 2 years of my life ahead of me. The first year was hard, I did not know many people but I still managed to become very good friends with some people on the team. I played my minutes and I had lots of fun.

Glendale has not only been basketball, it has been school, it has been learning, it has been formation, and growth. I came into this school almost as a lost child ready to grow up, and I am going to leave it ready for a fresh start and ready for a new experience, knowing I have the right cards in my hand and knowing that I have people behind me ready to catch me if I fall.

GCC will always be the place where I have met my best friends and where I know that if I will ever need anything I can count on. Professors, coaches, counselors, staff, everybody really had my back from the beginning of my experience until the very end and there is no way for me to describe with words how thankful, and how grateful I am to have had the chance to be a Vaquero. Once a Vaq, always a Vaq. 


Tess Oakley-StilsonTESS OAKLEY-STILSON
AA-T in English
Transferring to: UC Santa Cruz
Major: Literature

Playing at GCC was probably the most fun I've ever had. I've been a part of many teams before, but nothing like the team here. I've never played on a team that was so collectively hardworking, determined, and genuinely excited to play. Regardless of our height and numbers, we just knew we had to want it more than anyone else, and we did. I am so appreciative for my coaches, Coach Weiss and Coach Vince, my teammates, who I always knew I could trust, and for the community that was always there to support us. Until the very last buzzer, they were there. It was the most fulfilling experience of my life, and I'll never forget it. Go Vaqueros!


Emmy CortesEMMY CORTES
AA-T in Foreign Language and Social Science
Transferring to: CAL STATE LA
Major: Communicative Disorders

I decided to pursue an education at the age of 39. Glendale counselors helped me get the classes I need it and answered all my question. Now I am on my way to Cal State LA and feel prepared for the challenges. It is never too late to follow your dream! I am going to miss this campus, friendly classmates and knowledgeable professors. 

Thank you to those classmates that were part of my study group but became remarkable friends. Good Luck on your path to success.

Thank you to Hassina, professor Luis Labra, and everyone from Student Equity specially Kevin Dimatulac.


CAMERON THOMPSON
AA-T in Communication Studies
Transferring to: CSUN
Major: Communications

Many years ago, I served my country and volunteered for service in Afghanistan. That seemed like a piece of cake to me, because I was very confident in myself and my team of fellow soldiers. I never once imagined myself as a college student at the time. For my entire life, I never thought I was smart enough for college. I listened to the people who told me I couldn't do it. I instead chose the military right after high school. After losing one of my best friends in Afghanistan and coming close to losing my own life various times, I broke into a very deep, alcohol-induced depression working as a nightclub bouncer for a living. It was the mother of my friend who was killed in action that helped me on my feet. She wrote on his headstone, "the meaning of life is to put meaning into it." When I snapped out of my spiral, I decided to go for it and accept the challenge of getting a college degree. I worked as a bouncer at night time and worked in my workbooks during the daytime on campus. Unfortunately, I also lost my mother and grandfather during my journey as a GCC student. But I still accomplished my mission to honor them. Though they will not see me graduate and transfer, I know I made my family proud. Life is just as much of a test as our issued homework assignments. Quitting is not an option. One must always prevail. My next mission is to study to be a veteran counselor. I want to contribute to help the next generation of struggling warriors, just as the GCC staff has helped me. It is an honor to be a VAQ.

Near the beginning of summer in 2016, I just got out of one of my classes. I just completed an oral report about the importance of erasing a life regret if it is still possible. If it is not possible, then we can let go of the regret and move on. Well, I had a regret. As a freshman in high school at the age of 14, I wanted to be part of a team. I wanted to play football, but I never had the chance. I was a young and committed cadet, and I wanted to put all of my focus on training to be a soldier someday. A life long dream and a family tradition. So I never had a chance to play football due to time conflicts with the other program I was in. I achieved 1 out of 2 of those goals. Fast forward almost a decade, I was a 27-year-old former soldier and seasoned veteran of a foreign war turned college student (I had a late start at GCC). I impulsively decided to erase my regret of not having a chance to play football. I walked into Coach Rome's office. We never met each other up until that moment. He later became like a father figure in my life. I tried out for the team and did my best to keep up with everyone who was a lot younger than me and years of experience playing football. I learned all of the ropes from scratch and eventually earned my place on the team as a nose tackle. I also made new friends that I will never forget, and even got to be coached by former NFL player, coach Lester Townes. I guess my most memorable moment was at the very beginning. When I decided to erase an old regret.

"The meaning of life is to put meaning into it." 

When I first stepped on campus to register, I almost got discouraged and wanted to turn back. Primarily because I didn't think I was college material. But then a GCC staff member gave me a tour of the campus and words of encouragement. I felt right at home then and there. I won't ever forget that. And to all of the staff at the Veterans Resource Center... I owe you a life debt of gratitude. You served your country well, and you continue to serve your fellow veterans. 


Desirae PerezDESIRAE PEREZ
Certificate: Fire Technology/Associates in Science Fire Technology

Coming from out of state only experiencing small community college life I had no idea what to expect. GCC made my intro to California education more than memorable with its beautifully campus, staff all about helping, and a veterans center that made me feel like family!

The most memorable moment was easily hearing from my VA counselor, Jolie Morris, that I was graduating with honors.

No amount of thanks seems like enough for the amazing staff especially veterans services through GCC!

To: Jolie Morris, Abraham Baca, and Victor Castellanos,

Thank you for your dedication to not only myself but all the students you have helped reach. It is through your guidance that I have been able to become more confident in my abilities to help others, that I was able to graduate with honors and that I am able to be a leader in Verdugo Fire Academy 2021’s class XXIV.

Thank you GCC for helping me succeed!


Olavo MultiniOLAVO MULTINI
AA-T in Art History
Transferring to: CAL STATE LA
Major: Art History

I'm Olavo Multini, 69 years old. I came to California with my wife and daughters from my country Brazil in 2005. I went to Garfield campus to take E.S.L. When I finished with my transcripts from my previous school abroad, I started my journey at GCC. Being an artist my goal was to get Associate Degree in Art in order to transfer to Cal State system.

I took many classes and I became more strong. I had many challenges and achievements. I got my certificate in Italian. I had great professors, we can't call these guys instructors. They have dedicated their lives to give us the best skill, they help me with my challenges.

I'm so thankful to all the people who support me and now I'm prepared for the new Cal State LA.

I consider GCC one of the most important schools, I had the opportunity to attend, since the first day I walked through the campus until these crazy pandemic times. Our professors had the same challenges as us to adapt to the new rules. My applause goes to all GCC family from the gardeners who attended to plants or the facilities cleaner, the administrators, professors and doctors. Would like to say to all, I will back no longer as student.


Tatiana PakTATIANA PAK
AA-T in Journalism

As an international student experiencing the American college life for the first time, I know GCC is the best choice I made. Before moving here, I thought I knew who I was; that I knew enough important things, but this school made me realize I still had a lot of room to grow. Learning everything in a different language and culture, thousands of miles away from my family and friends wasn't easy, but this school felt like a second home to me since day one.

Being a student worker for the International Student Office, then later writing and working for the El Vaquero Newspaper were definitely the highlights of my time here. No matter what happened, I always felt safe enough to speak up, encouraged to do the best I could, and free to be whoever I wanted to be. I didn't expect my experience to be this empowering, and for that alone I'm so proud of being part of GCC.

To everyone at the International Student Office: Armenuhi Andzhu, David Nelson, Nusha Shishegar, Irene Shim, Murray Stach, Mariah Ribeiro, and Nairy Bouyadjian, I'm always so thankful for the help and guidance you all so patiently gave me. Your dedication and hard work is inspiring, and I can only dream of being like any of you someday. It was an honor to work for and with you, and I will miss you the most.

To some of my professors (in order of classes taken since 2017): John Lynch, Mirtha Saldana, Santor Nishizaki, Samuel Mares, Geri Ulrey, Rory Cohen, Maite Peterson, Aditi Sapra, and Eric Johnston. Some of you might not even remember who I am, but your classes genuinely changed my life. Wherever I go, I will take every lesson and kindness you've shown us close to my heart. Thank you.


Cody HidalgoCODY HIDALGO
AS-T in Child Development
Major: Child Development

GCC has impacted my life more than I even realize. GCC has made me be more comfortable with myself, others, and the world around me. I have learned so much about life, myself, and the world and made a bunch of friends along the way. I am forever grateful and will always be proud to be a GCC Alumni.

I will never forget the first Child Development class that I took. The knowledge I learned and the way the teachers were treating and caring for the children truly blew my mind and I instantly fell in love. I will also never forget my true inspiration and most helpful mentor Mary Jane Biancheri. She truly shows the beauty and love of caring for children and shows how making a difference in a child's life is worth every second of hard work, so thank you, Mary Jane, for everything, and thank you GCC for making me the man I am today.

I want to make a shout-out to all the teachers and staff of the Child Development Center, Jeanette, Mary Jane, Deborah, Justine, Shirley, Tatiana, Shelley, Jacqueline, Diane, William, Katy, Araseli, and Marcia. Thank you all for all the love, support, and time you each have spent not only caring for the children but also caring for us students. From the bottom of my heart, I love you all and thank you all so much.


Rick DingerRICK DINGER
AA in Social Science

Long story, as short as possible.... After graduating from St. Francis high school, I attended Cal State Northridge to continue my education and play football. Neither of those turned out extremely successful, so I left school and began selling insurance. Then 15 years later, I was asked to serve on the Glendale College Bond Oversight Committee (by Tony Tartaglia) and was given a faculty parking pass. I joked with a friend (Jewel D'aloia Price) at Rotary that maybe it was a sign from God to finish my AA degree (she happened to be the Dean of Students at GCC). She looked me dead in the eye and said "You need to do this!"

With the encouragement of my wife Heather Dinger,  I began taking classes, one class per semester and after completing 7 courses, I was on my way to my AA until life and algebra got in the way. I stopped taking classes. Years later I was asked to be on the Glendale College Foundation Board. A few years after that, my twins began playing football at GCC and I was assisting the team. As my boys were leaving GCC, I contacted the athletic department academic advisor (the Great Molly Mercer) and asked her to take a look at my transcripts and help me find a path to an AA degree. (It had been 14 years since I had taken my last class at GCC)

She recommended that I take Statistics online and I would be good to go....so I did it! My final grade was 91.11 (thanks to a ton of downtime because of Covid-19 and a great tutor that was refereed by Alison Buckley Davitt). I have officially sent in my petition for graduation. Well, that is where the fun ends, due to Covid-19 there will not be a graduation ceremony at GCC this year. So, that ends my 35-year quest for 2-year degree. Thank you Glendale Community College!!!