College: Cabrillo College
Semester Attended ACE: Spring 2006
“My life is so different now,” says Andres Medina-Huezo, who plans to be the first in his family to graduate from college. “I realized I can do whatever I want to do when I set my mind to it.”
Andres, 25, had earned C’s and D’s in high school. He had struggled along through life and worked a few retail jobs before deciding in 2005 to enroll in the Academy for College Excellence (ACE). Then things changed, he says. Mostly it was his perspective on himself.
“ACE basically gave me the confidence I needed,” he says.
The Academy helped him understand his strengths – that he’s good with people and likes communication – as well as some areas in his life where he needs to grow, such as analysis and concluding things. He learned about other people’s learning styles as well.
“I saw I was worthwhile and I could do something for myself and family,” Andres says. “I didn’t know that I had that. It gave me the opportunity for me to grow personally and learn what I’m good at. I’m good at communicating and working in teams. I’m learning how to be a strong leader.”
After the first semester in ACE, Andres began earning A's. He eventually joined the Cabrillo College Student Senate as a representative of students at the Watsonville campus. He now works as a recruitment intern for the Academy, helping students who are interested in enrolling in the program.
At Cabrillo College he is working for his associate arts degree in communication and plans to transfer to San Diego in 2010 to study sociology. He then plans to pursue a master’s degree in psychology.
“I want to be a therapist and help out young people,” Andres said. The program gave him the tools to expand his vision for himself, he said.
“Diego always taught us to work on our will to succeed, to listen, to be on time. He told us that if you don’t know what you’re doing, you can’t get what you want. Those are real life lessons.”