Estrella Mountain Commencement Slated for Friday, May 14

Estrella Mountain Community College will honor its graduating class of 2004 at commencement exercises on May 14 at 6:30 p.m. The ceremony, themed "Rising to Success; Building the Future,takes place in the EMCC Ceremonial Plaza, 3000 North Dysart Road in Avondale. A fireworks display occurs immediately following the ceremony (approximately 9 p.m. The ceremony honors recipients of 259 associate's degrees and 110 certificates. Among the recipients are 22 graduates of the Genesis West Program, a partnership among EMCC and local high school districts that allows students to complete their high school diploma while earning college credit. West Valley resident and lawyer with the law firm of Snell & Wilmer L.L.P., Dustin C. Jones,will give the commencement address. Mr. Jones is a graduate of the University of Arizona College of Law and serves as Chairman of the West Valley Fine Arts Council and Vice Chairman of the West Valley Hospital Board of Trustees. His talk is entitled "Now is the Time? In addition, other commencement speakers include Clinton Mata, giving the student comment, and Rey Rivera, mathematics faculty, delivering the faculty address. Estrella Mountain opened its doors in the fall of 1992 and is proud of its graduates and honored to provide educational opportunities and access to all. Our students will go on to universities, fill needed jobs within our economy, advance within their current positions and becomeour nation's next leaders. Their success is our success.

Note to Reporters: Below, are brief examples of graduate success. If you are interested in more information about the students listed, or would likeinterviews, please contact Keisha Truxillo at 623.935.8054.

Examples of Graduate Success

Columbia Lloyd

Columbia is a 20-year-old African American female who was university bound, but because of family and financial reasons, opted for EMCC. As a teenager in Chicago, she developed an avid interest in electronics and math, and set her goal on becoming an engineer. Through her affiliation with EMCC's NASA Center for Success in Math & Science, Columbia has honed her skills, maintains excellent grades, attends national conferences as a student representative of the college and has received numerous scholarships to assist with her education. She recently received word that she was selected to participate in a fully-paid research internship at the University of Houston for the summer with the Center for Adaptive Optics. She graduates with an associates of applied science, special requirements and will transfer to the University of Arizona in the fall to pursue a degree in Electrical Engineering. She also applied and was accepted to Georgia Tech, which is her dream, but was unable to accept due to the cost of tuition. However, she refuses to look at this as a setback and plans to attend graduate school at Georgia Tech.

Sonja Marruffo-Burleson,

Sonja is a 15-year-old student who will be receiving an associate in general studies degree.

Nuvia Garcia

Nuvia is a 21-year-old ESL student from Mexicali, Mexico who struggled to learn English, upon arriving in the United States when she was 14 years old. Although, it was extremely difficult for her, she endured and continued to take ESL classes throughout high school and eventually at EMCC. In January 2003, she became a U.S. citizen. Nuvia graduates with an associates in general studies and plans to pursue a career in computer technology.

Genesis West

Several Genesis West students will be graduating with their high school diplomas and associate's degrees. The majority of them are still teenagers and some have beenaccepted to universities.