DMC Success Stories of a Few Serve to Highlight Fall 2018 Graduates
Article by: Rosa Linda Reynoso
Every student had a story to tell about why they attended Del Mar College. Among the 616 “prospective” graduates who participated during the College’s Fall 2018 Commencement Ceremony were a medically-challenged student, a first-generation college student and a dual credit high school student.
Their unique stories serve as successful examples for current and future students as they took that momentous walk during the commencement ceremony at the American Bank Center.
Class of Fall 2018 Associate in Arts degrees in Liberal Arts and Foreign Languages
Last year, Daniel Solis didn’t think he’d still be alive, let alone be walking the stage with 615 other prospective graduates. When Daniel was born, he was diagnosed with Marfan Syndrome, which causes an aortic enlargement of the heart and contributed to a hemothorax he suffered last year.
“When you’re 5 years old you don’t really comprehend what it all means, but now that I’m 23 the reality that this could be ‘it’ hits you,” said Daniel, a Ray High School graduate. “It’s a miracle I’m still here. I knew I had to finish what I started and, sick or not, I wasn’t going to give up on my dreams.”
Despite the challenges, Daniel continued working toward his two associate’s degrees in liberal arts and foreign languages with the hope that one day he could impact people just like himself.
“My dream is to serve as an advocate to help children the same way all my doctors and professors have helped me,” explained Daniel.
Daniel’s drive led him to take leadership roles in Sigma Alpha Pi, the National Society for Leadership and Success.
With his degree in hand, Daniel will return to Del Mar in the spring to gather a few more credits before heading to Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi for his bachelor’s degree in health science this summer.
Class of Fall 2018 Associate in Applied Science degree in Registered Nurse Education and Associate in Arts degree in Nurse Education
As a community college student, Gloria Bentancourt is both prototype and outlier. Bentancourt is a mother of three children and a first-generation college student who came to Del Mar College with a lot of competing obligations.
“It is a struggle to be a mom, a spouse, work and be a good student,” said Bentancourt, 35, a Moody High School graduate. “I was motivated to not be another statistic and to rise above challenges.”
Bentancourt’s path to becoming a registered nurse began when she took classes at another institution to become a medical assistant.
“At the time, being a medical assistant was enough, but as the years went on I knew I needed more, so I started looking at Del Mar,” she explained.
In 2012 Bentancourt came to Del Mar to pursue a degree in respiratory therapy with hopes of landing a job at Driscoll Children’s Hospital. By 2014, both of those dreams had come to fruition, but she was still looking for more.
“I graduated from the respiratory program in 2014 and came right back to start working on my registered nursing degree,” she said.
Bentancourt walked the stage as a two-time Del Mar College graduate, earning associate’s degrees in both registered nurse education and nurse education. She plans to continue her education by seeking a bachelor of science degree in nursing.
Agustin J. “AJ” Barrera
Class of Fall 2018 Associate in Arts degree in Liberal Arts (Dual Credit graduate)
Agustin J. “AJ” Barrera received his associate’s degree from Del Mar College just like hundreds of others. But unlike the others, he did it at 17 years old.
AJ’s achievement is commendable as well as historic; he was be the first dual credit student to graduate with his associate’s degree before earning his diploma at Robstown Early College High School.
“I can’t believe I’m graduating, let alone the first to graduate from here,” said AJ, a senior.
AJ wasted no time working toward his associate’s degree, starting while he was a freshman.
“Before I even started as a freshman, both my parents were encouraging me to start taking dual credit classes at Del Mar,” he explained.
Not only did AJ get a head start before heading to Texas A&M University, College Station to major in chemical engineering, but his family saved thousands of dollars in tuition.
“Saving all that money is huge because I’ll leave College Station with a lot less debt,” he said.
AJ received his associate’s degree along with 615 other prospective graduates at Del Mar’s commencement ceremony Dec. 13 at the American Bank Center.
Del Mar College empowers students to achieve their dreams. We offer quality programs, individual attention, outstanding instruction through faculty with real-world experience and affordable costs to credit and noncredit students in Corpus Christi and the South Texas Coastal Bend area. Nationally recognized while locally focused, we’re ranked in the top two percent of community colleges in the country granting associate degrees to Hispanic students (Community College Week). Del Mar College focuses on offering our students programs that match current or emerging career opportunities. Whether students are interested in the fine arts, sciences, business, occupational or technical areas, students get the education they need for the future they want at Del Mar College.