March 8, 2016-Jeremy Mulford Digital EiC
For many adults who did not earn their High school diploma the prospect of going back to finish their education can be very intimidating. Even more so is the thought of pursuing any goals of a college education. It is the age old story of people getting caught up with work, children and other responsibilities of day to day life that it seems like a pipe dream to finish their education. If only there was a program that could make that goal attainable. MiraCosta College has that very program. The Community Learning Center located at 1831 Mission Avenue Oceanside,offers the Adult High School Diploma program offered as a free service to the community. This program, led by department chair Angela Senagalia, is staffed with a team of talented educators who know how to educate their unique demographic. If someone wants to put forth the effort they will get you into that cap and gown in a timely manner.
Above:2016 Graduates and department chair Angela Senegaglia
One aspect of this program that makes it special, is the unique way that it transitions students from noncredit to credit courses making the transition feel organic. A common method for students who plan to further their education is a practice called “double dipping,” where they finish the rest of their diploma requirements by taking credit courses on either the Oceanside or San Elijo campuses. Essentially they are beginning their college journey while finishing out the diploma requirements. It makes one feel that it is not only an easy transition, but the next logical step. The CLC uses the same blackboard and surf account system. It has empowered many students and made them feel at home when they arrive on campus.
Dan Olguin works as an auto parts delivery driver. And recently completed the program. As an adult in the workforce, Olguin always regretted dropping out of high school “It was always a thorn in my side,” he said about going through life without donning that cap and gown and grabbing his diploma. Olguin said he had already tried attending vocational schools, and felt jaded about the education system. He was asked by a co-worker if we wanted to be stuck working at his present job forever or did he have backup plan ? That moment struck a chord inside of him. He already knew he was passionate about Audio Production but was not pursuing it. He could have just simply obtained the GED, but he wanted that diploma in his hand. He found the CLC and thought that this program was the way to do it. Olguin talked about how the instructors really prepared him for college level courses,”They let you know what you are getting into,” he said. Olguin’s words of advice to others in his situation are,“Go for it, look around, there are people of all ages attending college courses. Olguin wanted to share this,“Go for it,” sentiment with any adult who want to slip into that cap and gown and grab that diploma. Olguin will graduate next Thursday at the concert hall in the 2400 building.
Courtney Pendermack began attending the program to obtain her United States diploma. She had lived out of the country for a period and earned a high school equivalency overseas. Pendermack, a biochemistry major who works at the school and mother of two is a “double dipper.” She used credit courses to finish the diploma program. Pendermack found the transition to the main campus easy,“The CLC completely prepares you to attend either the San Elijo or Oceanside Campus,”said Pendermack. She aspires to attend University and possibly earn a PhD after finishing community college. Pendermack would like to work in Law Enforcement or cancer research in the future. Pendermack will also walk next Thursday.
The students whose stories you have heard are just an example of the adult demographic that the CLC has helped to achieve their goals. Education is empowerment, it gives us the pride we have lost because of choices made in the past. It prepares us to enter into higher income brackets and opens our eyes to see the world differently. This program has changed the life direction for many in the local community. The program helps prepare students for college in logistical and mental aspects. Having attended myself I will say it has changed my life in a way I never saw coming. The educators of the CLC are very much in tune with the demographic they are serving, and they have honed their skills to just that. This program has done a great service to adults who are seeking to further their education, and is a valuable extension of our institution.