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Veteran Student Ambassador

Alex Maravilla

My actions have resulted from either a desire to get away from something or a desire to move toward something. I attended Duarte High School in the mid-1990s and liked learning, but I was distracted by my peers who were awash in conflict. Proposition 187 threatened to divide California just as gang violence threatened to divide my school into racial and ethnic factions. It was not a safe environment, so my parents and I decided it would be better if I went to live with relatives in Santa Cruz. Unfortunately, gangs and factional divisions existed there as well, so my decision to get away didn't work. By then, my appetite for academics had soured. After graduation, rather than enroll in college, I pursued an interest in radio broadcasting with an internship at a radio station. However, while I enjoyed music promotion and sound design, I decided to quit and join the Army. Once again the decision was motivated by a need to get away from the bad influences that followed me out of high school.

After basic training, I received stateside assignments and worked with ordinances and demolitions. After three years, I was deployed to South Korea for an 18-month hitch that not only accelerated my personal maturation process but also gave me a vision for the my future. After I was discharged, I went into the Army Reserves and was offered a training job teaching soldiers construction and demolition. Where I had once struggled as a student, I succeeded as a teacher. This success convinced me to return to school, and I eventually enrolled at Citrus College. The motivation to return to school, though, had nothing to do with trying to get away from anything. It was motivated by my hope to develop my skills and become an engineer. One of the benefits of studying at Citrus College has been the Boots to Books course. While many people talk about helping veterans, the Boots to Books course actually helps. It's great to see students from all branches of the military finding what they need to become successful in college.

As for me, I'm rediscovering my love for learning while I work toward transferring with an A.A. to CSU Fullerton or Cal Poly Pomona, where I intend to earn an engineering degree. I'm no longer motivated to escape something bad, but rather to move toward something very good: hope.

Thank you, Citrus, for providing the type of help and support I need to achieve my dreams.

Alex Maravilla

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