(Orange, CA) – Santa Ana College will hold its 103rd annual commencement on Friday, June 7, at 5:30 p.m. In total, 2,395 students will receive a certificate or degree. This year’s ceremony will recognize the college’s first Bachelor of Science in Occupational Studies program cohort of 23, the first veteran to complete the Community College to PhD program through UCLA, 62 high school students who completed requirements for both their high school diploma and Associate of Arts degree, and class valedictorian Yadira Rayo-Penaloza.
A dedicated and involved scholar, Rayo-Penaloza, 21, participated in the University Link Transfer program, the Service Learning program, Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, Pride Club! and served as president of the Women Empowerment Club. Additionally, as part of Associated Student Government (ASG), Rayo-Penaloza advocated for SAC student issues in Washington D.C. where she twice lobbied Congress in regards to DACA, Pell Grants, and other issues in Higher Education.
Rayo-Penaloza also received the Presidential Award for completing over 100 hours of community service for her volunteer efforts at the Nealley Library.
“I could not be more grateful for SAC’s comprehensive school programs including ASG, W.E. Club and U-Link, the supportive SAC faculty, the lifelong friends that I made while at SAC, and of course the love and support of my family,” stated Rayo-Penaloza. “SAC will forever have a special place in my heart!”
This fall, Rayo-Penaloza will attend the University of California, Berkeley where she plans to pursue a degree in global studies. Her ultimate goal is to serve as a Congressional aide in Washington, D.C., and focus on women’s rights.
“Like Ms. Rayo-Penaloza, this class has shown exceptional determination and ambition and we could not be more proud of their achievements and contributions,” stated SAC President Dr. Linda Rose. “On behalf of the SAC faculty and staff we wish these students all the best in both their personal and professional journeys.”
Commencement will be held on Friday, June 7, 2019, at the Santa Ana Bowl, located on the corner of Flower St. and Civic Center Dr. in Santa Ana. Parking is $5.00 and opens at 4:00 p.m. For event details, please see: https://www.sac.edu/StudentServices/StudentLife/Pages/Commencement.aspx.
About Santa Ana College
Santa Ana College (SAC), which turned 100 years old in 2015, serves about 27,000 students each semester at its main campus in Santa Ana. The college prepares students for transfer to four-year institutions and 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.
SAC Class of 2019 Valedictorian