My Hometown Community College & The Change It’s Made In Me

This was crossposted by the U.S. Department of Education’s blog, Homeroom.

By: Ángel Gabriel Garcia, Student at Oxnard College

My name is Ángel Gabriel Garcia, and I am a proud first-generation community college student at Oxnard College. I was born and raised in Oxnard, California, a city that’s often ridiculed and overlooked due to its high concentration of immigrant families and poverty. The ugly and negative stereotypes I’ve heard about my community over the years have instilled a burning passion in me to prove the cynics wrong and show my community’s beauty. Thanks to my community college, I’ve been able to start doing just that.

My community college experience has given me the support and space to develop my academic skills and advocate for the people and spaces I care about. For me, community colleges offered hope and an opportunity to stop the deepening cycles of poverty that so many immigrant families tragically fall into. Community colleges provide a path for young people to bring generational transformation to their families through better-paying careers and life-changing opportunities. I have personally been blessed with immigrant parents who have encouraged my siblings and me to achieve a higher level of education. My community college has given my family that opportunity and helped countless neighbors, friends, and relatives of mine to do the same.

I’ve also been given a chance to participate in our Associated Student Government (ASG), which has given me incredible experiences to speak out on issues impacting my community and to develop my leadership skills as a young adult. I’ve combined those skills with my passion for art, which I use to raise awareness on important issues impacting students and my community, such as mental health, LGBTQIA+ rights, and the rights of undocumented families, including some of my own relatives. After graduating, I plan to eventually transfer to a four-year university where I’ll continue majoring in art and exploring opportunities to make an impact in the community I love.

In short, my community college experience has helped me blossom and pursue the goals I have set for myself and my family. My community college has provided me with the resources and education I need to get ahead. I never feel like a number on this campus, and I know no other place that would have given me this opportunity. I am eternally grateful to Oxnard and its community college for shaping me into the person I am today and I hope to continue this new cycle of growth, education, and hope for my family in the years to come.

Ángel Gabriel Garcia is a proud first generation community college student at Oxnard College where he is majoring in Studio Arts. Ángel is the Senator of Academic Affairs in the college Associated Student Government. Ángel is in his second year at Oxnard College.