2013 Commencement Ceremony is the Largest in School History
Judge Cruz Reynoso delivered the keynote address
This year's commencement ceremony was one of the largest in school history, with more than 200 students receiving degrees or professional certificates.
The highlight of the ceremony was the keynote address by Cruz Reynoso, one of California's preeminent civil rights lawyers and a former Associate Justice on the state's Supreme Court. Reynoso challenged the graduates, and the audience, to consider the importance of access to higher education for California's young people.
"Education is no longer affordable in California," he said. "When I was in school at Fullerton College it was free! Now students are paying thousands of dollars to attend California's community colleges. Critics argue that the price of community college in our state is one of the lowest in the nation but I say, if you can't afford to pay the tuition and buy the books, is it really affordable?"
Judge Reynoso's keynote address was fiery and motivating and drew enthusiastic response from the large crowd in attendance. As he closed his remarks, the college faculty gave him a standing ovation.
Judge Reynoso grew up in rural California in the 1930s and 1940s. The son of farm works and one of 11 children, his personal story reflects the experience of many Mexican-American families from that era and it heavily influenced his professional decisions.
In 2000, Judge Reynoso was awarded America's highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, by then President Bill Clinton.
Today, Judge Reynoso continues his advocacy for improving California's communities by taking up the cause of promoting increased access to higher education for the state's young people. As an alum of a California Community College, he is an enthusiastic supporter of the mission and goals of the colleges, saying, "...at community colleges, there is always hope."
Judge Reynoso was invited to speak at this year's commencement ceremony by Cañada College President Larry Buckley. "We were truly honored to have Judge Reynoso as our commencement speaker," he said. "He is a man who has travelled a truly inspiring path, and whose personal values include a dedication to education and a commitment to serving others. Our students, staff, faculty and guests at commencement truly related to his story and keynote address."
At the ceremony, Elaina Mattingly was honored as the 2013 Cañada College Valedictorian. She was one of three students to earn a perfect 4.00 GPA and graduate Summa Cum Laude but was chosen Valedictorian by President Buckley because her academic and personal background best represent this year's class. Elaina graduated with associate degrees in Economics and Business Administration. She is transferring to a four-year college in the fall and is already thinking ahead to graduate school.
Doris Vargas was presented with the President's Student Leadership Award, which goes to a graduating student who has displayed extraordinary leadership traits. The President chooses the recipient from nominees forward by the college faculty and staff. Doris played soccer at Cañada before devoting her time to academics and leadership opportunities at the college. She was a Senator for the Associated Students of Cañada College and was elected Treasurer of ASCC. This past year, she was the Co-President of Phi Theta Kappa (PTK), the award-winning honors club at the college. Doris will attend San Francisco State University in the fall and major in economics and possibly communications with an eye toward eventually working in her family's restaurant business.