The dedication of the Saddleback College Veterans Memorial on Thursday revealed the true character of the college. It was a momentous event that involved students, faculty and the surrounding community – all with the goal of honoring the men and women who have given their lives to ensure that we can continue to live with the freedoms we enjoy.
The staff, as well as myself, wishes to commend everyone responsible for the memorial as well as the dedication ceremony for providing the community with a truly unique and important event.
More so, the event showcased what is so special about Saddleback College. Yes, it is a school where the majority of the students are focused not on where they are now but where they will move on in the future. But underneath the surface, beyond being a place where students are well equipped to transfer, this college offers so much more.
It is an institution that allows its students to truly learn who they are and allow themselves to be molded into the adults they will become.
A place where people can pursue public speaking, dance, theater, art, government and journalism under the guidance of instructors and peers who have a vested interest in their futures.
A place where a young man, “Nate the Great”, can work to promote campus spirit and not be met with more obstacles, but rather open arms and tremendous success.
A place where a young man, unsure of what his future holds, can return to with the hope of finding his passion and after finding that passion, join an award-winning journalism program.
A place where student journalists and student government members can get real world training in the intricate dance they must constantly be involved in for both institutions to perform properly.
Most importantly, Saddleback College is a place where students can come and not worry about rushing into their futures as to not rack up tens of thousands of dollars in debt. Instead, they can spend the time to explore paths they would normally not even consider, and perhaps in doing so find their life’s passion.
Saddleback College has meant a great deal to me. Without it I would not be who I am today or where I am heading in the future. My dedication to the institution wasn’t always on the same level as its dedication to me – I too was one of many students who got on campus only to be swayed by the siren call of the much too near beach. But the college was always there, always willing to provide me with the tools to succeed.
The Lariat has been like a second family to me, while at the same time providing me with real world experience in journalism that I as well as the rest of my peers will need to pursue the field in the future.
From covering religious demonstrators and controversial job advertisements to our outstanding athletic and art programs, we have truly gained life-changing skills from the time we have spent working on the paper.
As I leave the Lariat in the capable hands of Shawn Heavlin-Martinez next semester, I wish to issue a challenge to all of you Gauchos. Follow paths you wouldn’t normally follow, take electives and extra-curricular activities, put yourself out there, and cherish the time you spend here.