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June 8, 2019
The air horns blew and the confetti-filled cannons exploded over the hundreds of graduating students dressed to the nine in their blue cap and gowns.
The applause, hoots, whistles and cheers of the crowd sitting in the bleachers seemed to never stop, as name after name—some badly mangled—were called to come up.
On Friday, June 7, the 72nd Annual Commencement Ceremony at El Camino College honored about a thousand or so students, in Murdock Stadium, to a packed house of supporting family members and friends.
“For us here today, this is el camino al conocimiento, el camino a las oportunidades, but most importantly, el camino hacia le excelencia,” student speaker Cameron Jackson said as he concluded his speech.
El Camino has been our path to knowledge, our path to opportunity, and our path to excellence.
For graduates, achieving this milestone signified different things, each according to their own unique lives.
Farhana El Taha, 20, environmental science major, felt both nervous and happy about graduating after two years at EC. She will start a new chapter at either UCLA or Cal State Long Beach after the summer, an accomplishment she attributed to her persistence.
“I’m very happy, and I’m really going to miss this place a lot,” El Taha said. “If you need to get something done, just keep going after it, it’s going to happen. Be a goal getter.”
For Giovanni Barba, 23, sociology major, and a first generation college student learning the ins and outs of life on campus while being visually impaired proved trying at times, he said.
“It’s been pretty surreal, this is where it all started,” Barba said. “I had to figure stuff out myself and advocate for myself [until I] built a community to help guide me through the process.”
After four years, Barba will be transferring with honors into UCLA this Fall where he will pursue his bachelors and masters degree in sociology.
Jose Oswaldo Chavez-Guerra, 37, fine arts and film major, will be attending Cal State Dominguez Hills after taking a break during the summer. He will be pursuing his bachelors in film and sound recording.
He said it took him five years of juggling a job, school, and family, but he continues to feel motivated by the possibility of opening his own recording studio one day where he would like to help create jobs for others too.
“I feel very excited; It’s a big moment for me. Finally, after quite a while, I get to graduate and transfer,” Chavez-Guerra said. “I managed to get through… I want to be my own boss and help others because it’s hard out there.”
After every single name had been called, EC President Dena Maloney, ended the ceremony by having the graduates move their tassels from the right to left and announcing:
“You are now El Camino College Alumni.”