Inspirational May graduates share their stories
Article by: College Relations
Every student had a story to tell about why they attended Del Mar College. Among the 863 “prospective” graduates participating during the College’s Spring 2018 Commencement Ceremony on Friday, May 11, are a nursing major and this year’s Hall of Fame inductee Melinda Garza along with husband-and-wife duo and Liberal Arts and Business Administration majors Jessica Gregg and Christopher Gregg.
Their unique stories serve as successful examples for current and future students as they take that momentous walk during the 7 p.m. Commencement Ceremony at the American Bank Center.
Class of Spring 2018 Associate in Applied Science Degree, Registered Nursing
Melinda Garza’s path to graduating from Del Mar College (DMC) was anything but conventional. At 36 years old, as a high school dropout, retail store employee and mom to three children, Garza wondered if there was something more for her. In January of 2013, she decided it was time for a change.
“I was afraid, but I went into Del Mar’s GED program and started studying,” she said.
By April of 2013, Garza earned her General Educational Development (GED) diploma and began to dream again, this time about college.
After researching degrees ranging from cosmetology to dental hygiene, she enrolled in the nursing program.
At first I thought about cosmetology, but then I saw nursing and I knew if I could do that I would be an asset to the community.
Garza’s passion for being an asset to the community led her to be inducted into the DMC Hall of Fame and to take leadership positions in organizations such as Phi Theta Kappa, the National Society of
Leadership and Success, Ambassador Association, DMC Student Government Association and the
Region VI executive board of the Texas Junior College Student Government Association. She also worked at DMC, tutoring fellow students trying to make sense of anatomy and physiology.
Since Garza’s decision back in January 2013, she’s lived by a simple quote: “If you want to change your life you will find a way, and if you don’t you’ll find excuses.”
Garza will walk the stage not only as a Del Mar College graduate, but someone who has found a way to write a new story.
Jessica Gregg (wife) and Christopher Gregg (husband)
Class of May 2018 Associate in Arts Degrees, Business Administration and Liberal Arts
Get the Kleenex ready. It will be an emotional moment when Jessica and Christopher Gregg’s five children, ranging in age from 16 to 2 years old, witness them walk across the stage together at the American Bank Center. The couple’s story is inspirational, as they completed their studies at DMC while working full-time jobs, raising their children and running a household.
“We decided we’d go back to school together to show our children that anything is possible,” said Jessica, 31, a Ray High School graduate. “It was very challenging, but we helped each other out. We were study buddies.”
The Greggs became husband-and-wife students in fall 2016. For Jessica, it was a return to Del Mar after a maternity break, and for Christopher, 27, it was his first time in college.
A Colorado native and former Navy hospital corpsman 3rd class who served in Afghanistan, Christopher credits the DMC Veterans Center with providing valuable help and making his college experience enjoyable. Jessica, however, has been his driving force.
“I’d see her doing her homework so I’d get mine done too,” he said with a laugh. “I don’t think I could have done it without her. She was my strength and drive in this endeavor.”
The couple plan to pursue bachelor’s degrees next; Jessica is considering focusing on information systems and Christopher on health administration.
Jessica’s advice to working parents considering pursuing a degree: “Just get started.”
Even if you take one class, get a feel for it and increase. It’s better than looking back on the time you may have wasted. No obstacle is too great.
With their degrees in hand, the Greggs are strong role models for the most important people in their lives – their children.
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.