(Santa Ana, CA)— As part of its centennial year celebration, Santa Ana College (SAC) will hold its 99th annual commencement exercise on Friday, June 5, at 5:30 p.m. at Eddie West Field – Santa Ana Stadium, 602 N. Flower St., Santa Ana, CA. With 1,857 students who petitioned to graduate, more than 700 members of the Class of 2015 are expected to participate in the ceremony. Among the graduates are 58 Middle College High School students who will graduate from high school with their associate degrees; nine will graduate with honors. Some 2,000 family members will fill the stands to cheer on the new graduates.
At age 15, Claudia Paulette Buccio, SAC’s 2015 valedictorian, recognized her passion and desire to become a news anchor and reporter. On Friday, the 20-year-old Garden Grove resident, graduates from Santa Ana College with a 4.0 grade point average, highest honors, an associate degree in television/video communications, and a Presidential Scholar medal for completing SAC’s Honors Transfer Program. Her journey to Santa Ana College was not easy, but with the support of her family and the faculty and staff of the college, she is getting closer to achieving her dreams.
Buccio was born and raised in Chino, California, and at nine-years-old, she moved to Uruapan, Michoacan, Mexico, with her parents. The transition to a new home and a new culture was not easy for her. She found herself bullied and called a “gringa.” But soon she excelled in school and became an “A” student and was appreciated for her performances in her school’s festivals.
When she was working on a project during her junior year in high school, she decided she wanted to have Spider-Man explain the death of his girlfriend Gwen Stacy as a breaking news story. She told her aunt about what she had in mind and before she knew it, she was at the television studio where her aunt worked as a news anchor. She had her first opportunity to be in front of the camera and got hooked.
When her parents and aunt offered the opportunity of attending college in the U.S., she accepted it knowing that it was good for her career, even though it was a heartbreaking choice as she sees her family only once a year. After returning to California, she found her way to Santa Ana College enrolled in her first mass media class. From Professor Terry Bales, she learned of the college’s TV/video program and registered. By her second semester at the college, she was enrolled in the Principles of Broadcast News course and involved in the production of Noticiero Latino del Condado de Orange (NLCO), the student-produced Spanish language newscast. She is currently producer of SAC’s bilingual newscast Around and About Orange County and NLCO.
She is an active member of Phi Theta Kappa Honors Society where she holds the position of secretary and assists in their community service events. She is also a member of Alpha Gamma Sigma Honor Society. She graduated from SAC’s Student Leadership Institute in 2014 and has twice received Santa Ana College scholarships. She was also honored as Journalist of the Year for her work at SAC-TV in fall 2014 and recently was awarded the Maria Elena Salinas Scholarship from the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.
“I have no words to thank my parents enough for the great education they gave me and to my grandparents, aunt, uncle, and godmothers for their support,” said Buccio. “I have loved my classes at SAC, especially in broadcast journalism and public speaking that helped me open up. Now I can’t stop speaking! All the professors at SAC have been just amazing.”
Once she finishes her bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism at either Chapman University, where she has already been accepted, or at the University of Southern California, her dream school, she has her sights set on working as a reporter for Univision or Telemundo/NBCUniversal.
“Commencement is always the culmination of Santa Ana College’s academic year,” said Erlinda J. Martinez, Ed.D., SAC president. “But this year it is uniquely special as it is our centennial year; celebrating our accomplished past and our boundless future. For our students and their families, it marks a milestone. We applaud their sacrifice and determination that made this day possible.”
This year’s faculty speaker is Madeline Grant, SAC interim dean of business and professor of international business and marketing. Grant was originally hired as an adjunct faculty member in the International Business/Marketing Department in 1987 and was hired full-time in 2001. Her work often extends beyond the classroom. She helped write a U.S. Department of Education Business & International Education (BIE) grant and served on the advisory committee that was responsible for creating SAC’s globally recognized international business program. She co-directed two additional BIE grants totaling close to $400,000 which allowed SAC to align its program with the Certified Global Business Professional Credential.
She was a lead faculty fellow for the Kaleidoscope Open Educational Resources (OER) project in which she collaborated with faculty across the country to create a dynamic Bus 100, Fundamentals of Business, class. She was also responsible for developing the Pepsi Internship program and has worked with local high schools and the Career Academy Scholars Program (CASP) to offer the business and international business classes to high school students. She has been instrumental in guiding the process to launch and develop the Entrepreneurship & Innovation program which was awarded the Career Technical Education (CTE) Program Award in 2010 and received the Impact Award from the National Association of Community College Entrepreneurs (NACCE). One of her recent successes has been the development of a collaborative certificate with the SAC Automotive Department - the Automotive Business Technology Certificate.
Grant earned her bachelor’s degree in international relations with a minor in business administration from the University of San Diego and her MBA, with an emphasis in international business, from Claremont Graduate Schools. She is a certified Global Business Professional and is a certified trainer for the Certified Global Business Professional Credential. She is a member of Model United Nations, Phi Alpha Theta and Pi Sigma Alpha scholastic fraternities.
The commencement ceremony also honors the 2015 Santa Ana College Alumni Hall of Fame inductees. The honorees are innovative and energetic civil servant Gary C. Burton (Class of 1967), lifelong educator William H. Delaney (Class of 1965), the Honorable Dennis J. Keough of the Superior Court of Orange County (Class of 1969), and nationally recognized educator Irasema Salcido (Class of 1983). For more information on the distinguished inductees’ backgrounds, read more.
Additional speakers at the commencement ceremony include Rancho Santiago Community College District Board of Trustees President Lawrence “Larry” R. Labrado and SAC President Martinez.
For more information about Santa Ana College centennial, visit http://www.sac.edu/100 or call (714) 564-6091.
About Santa Ana College
Santa Ana College (SAC), which is turning 100 years old in 2015, serves about 18,000 students each semester at its main campus in Santa Ana. The college prepares students for transfer to four-year institutions, provides invaluable workforce training, and customized training for business and industry. In addition, another 11,000 students are served through the college’s School of Continuing Education located at Centennial Education Center. Ranked as one of the nation’s top two-year colleges awarding associate degrees to Latino and Asian students, the college is also recognized throughout the state for its comprehensive workforce training programs for nurses, firefighters, law enforcement and other medical personnel. SAC is one of two comprehensive colleges under the auspices of the Rancho Santiago Community College District. Visit www.sac.edu to learn more. For information about Santa Ana College’s Centennial, please visit www.sac.edu/100.
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