Thursday, April 24, 2014
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Whether they came to take just one course or enroll as a springboard to a four-year university, 337 individuals graduated from Los Angeles Southwest College June 5. The Class of 2007 included Gloria Woods who, at age 63, gave a valedictorian speech incorporating lyrics from “You Can Make it if You Try,” “I Believe I Can Fly” and “What a Wonderful World.”

Los Angeles Southwest College graduates Eva Jackson and Gloria Woods congratulate each other following their June 5 ceremony. At age 63, Woods spoke as the class valedictorian about her educational journey.

Woods recalled a bus strike during her first semester and a cooperative circle that formed with classmates so they could still travel to the campus. “We had one common goal - to get an education and help others who were trying to do the same,” she said. Woods also shared her strategy for academic success: “When I enrolled in LASC, I pictured myself in a cap and gown. I was determined to finish what I started to the best of my ability. The method I used to study and enjoy the classes I was taking was to pretend that I already had a job in that field. I believed if I could see it and believe it, I could do it.”

Of the 337 graduates, 233 were awarded an Associate in Arts degree, 46 were awarded the Associate in Science degree, and 58 earned vocational certificates. Also graduating with Woods were:

•Mother-Daughter Graduates—Deborah Miller and her daughter, Eva Jackson. Jackson, the dynamic founder of Anointed Vision Productions and Touch the World Ministries, completed a term as President of the LASC Associated Student Organization. She was elected to the Los Angeles Community College District Board of Trustees as Student Trustee and began her office on June 1.

•Accelerated High School Students—Nine high school students earned associate degrees, including Judith Afonta (graduating magna cum laude) and Daniel Salvador (graduating cum laude).

•Fastest Man in the State—Javonte Taylor won the men’s 100m (10.47) competition at the Community College State Championships held in San Mateo on May 21.

•Nationally Recognized Drama and Speech Students—Five Los Angeles Southwest College students won awards at the National Association of Dramatic and Speech Arts (NADSA) conference held in Dallas: Dontral Hunter, Olinga Gordon, Christine Lynks, Sonya McClure and Velvet Charles. In addition, Charles was elected Student President of NADSA, and Charles, Eric Davis and Dwayne Whitehead were offered full scholarships to Coppin State University on the spot.

•Athletic Scholarship Reci-pients—Among the 12 football athletes and three basketball athletes signing athletic scholarship agreements with four-year institutions across the country were: Chris Green for Morehouse; Vernon Catlin for Arkansas State; Jason McKinney for Hawai’i Pacific University; Theo Scott for Ohio University; Jesse Feagin III for Washington State; and Robert Johnson for the University of Utah.

•President’s Honor Award Recipients—Forty-seven Los Angeles Southwest College students received the President’s Honor Award this year for academic excellence.

Dr. Jack E. Daniels III, interim president, referred to LASC as “a beacon of hope where students attain their goals that lead to jobs or continuance of their formal education at colleges and universities nationwide.”

Upon closing his address, Dr. Daniels issued this to the Class of 2007: “I charge you to remember that education is a means to create good, not merely successful, people—that education is a means, not only to a successful career, but to a moral life. Education is a means to develop good people from three perspectives: Excellence, justice and honor.”

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