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Student Success Stories 2014 at Moreno Valley College

Student Success Stories at MVC are a reflection of the quality and hard work of our students, as well as the commitment and dedication of our faculty and staff. These are some of the latest achievements that well represent our College beyond our city.


Kyla Burdette   •   Valencia Ferrell   •   Regina Miller   •   Brenda Munoz


Kyla Burdette

Student Success Story 1

Kyla Burdette used the birth of her daughter to restart her education.

Seven years removed from graduating Valley View High School and six years after giving birth to Nevaeh Montgomery, Burdette will gather with her Class of 2014 peers on June 12 at College Park to celebrate the completion of their associate degrees and certificates earned at Moreno Valley College (MVC).

For Burdette, 25, the ceremony will signify the start of a new journey as she transitions to Cal State San Bernardino in the fall to begin studies in social work--a field she says will allow her to change lives for the better.

"I enjoy helping people," she said. "I can impact peoples' lives through this service, helping those in need to make better of themselves."

Burdette waited a year after giving birth before beginning her college education. She knew her daughter would need a role model and she wanted it to be her.

"I wanted to be someone my daughter could look up to," Burdette said. "I also knew I needed to further my education in order to have a better chance at getting a better paying job that would allow me to provide for myself and my daughter, and be a successful, educated, young woman and mother."

It was family that gave Burdette the foundation and the strength to return to school. She cites them as her No. 1 support system, especially when her father passed.

"My father always pushed me to return to school as education was very important to him," she said. "When he passed, my mother and sisters took over the roll, encouraging me every step of the way. My sister, Kimberly, was especially instrumental, proof reading papers and taking an interest in my studies."

On campus, Burdette credits Terrie Hawthorne, the CalWorks counselor, and former MVC professor James Banks as the key players in her progression. CalWorks is a program that assists low-income students, providing instruction, counseling and support services, job search employment preparation opportunities and childcare assistance as well as work experience/work-study opportunities.

"Terrie has been a great mentor, she was continuously updating my educational plan, ensuring I stayed on track to complete my goals," Burdette said. "She also gave me the opportunity to work in the CalWORKs office gaining clerical skills that will help me in the workforce. Mr. Banks gave me great advice throughout the years and pushed me to remain focused and complete all the prerequisites I needed to transfer to the university of my choice. I will always remember that Moreno Valley College gave me my start."

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Valencia Ferrell

Student Success Story 2

For Valencia Ferrell, it was the second not the third time that was the charm.

Ferrell, 23, first enrolled in college in the fall of 2008 after graduating from Val Verde High School; however, she ended up dropping out and trying to survive on minimum-wage jobs. She decided to return to school after discovering she was pregnant with her daughter, Vanessa.

Making a second attempt at earning an associate of arts degree, the single mother of two children under age 4 successfully completed the requirements for an associate's degree in Human Services. She and the rest of the 2014 class will celebrate their successes at Moreno Valley College's June 12 graduation at College Park, and Ferrell will continue her education at Cal State Long Beach to earn a bachelor's degree.

"I knew from the moment I found out, that working as an assistant manager getting paid a few dollars over minimum wage was not going to work for me," she said. "So I decided to get back in school and pursue a career in social work so that I could always remain self-sufficient."

Ferrell said the ability to work with people of varying backgrounds and helping people within her community inspired her to focus on social work as a major. She herself is a product of CalWorks, a program that assists low-income students.


"With the help of the program, I was able to receive academic and financial counseling, and it helped me attain priority registration as well as resources and information on other programs on campus, which assisted me in returning to college," she said.

Ferrell also managed to find time to give back, joining the Human Services Club, a club that specializes in aiding the community and MVC students through food drives, Toys4Tots, Special Olympics and other fundraising events. She said the club experience is one of many things she'll take away from her time at MVC.

"When I started at MVC, I never thought about pursing a degree past the associate's level," Ferrell said. "However, being on campus, being surrounded by motivating and cheerful teachers and peers, I decided I didn't want to stop at my associate's degree. I want to go further in my education because I love the doors that education opens as well as the stimulation of learning."

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Regina Miller

Student Success Story 3

When Regina Miller crosses the graduation stage at Moreno Valley College (MVC) on June 12, few will suspect how many miles she traveled to make that short walk.

Miller grew up in Boyertown, PA, 2,779 miles and a 43-hour drive from MVC. After graduation she worked a variety of jobs from baking to banking. In 1999, she moved west, finding employment in retail sales and eventually a management job. She married and had two children, Kara and Kaili. Unable to find affordable childcare, Miller decided to settle in as a stay-at-home mom, volunteering at her children's school, chaperoning field trips and serving as a PTO board member.

She and her husband bought a house in Perris.

Life was good - for a while.

"My husband and I purchased a house in 2008 and I applied for admission to Moreno Valley College in the spring of 2009," said Miller, 37. "But due to a lack of steady transportation I had to put off school. It wasn't long after that my husband I separated after losing the house and other issues."

Despite being across the country from family, Miller decided to remain in California, living with a family friend, Cassandra Dyball.

"Cassandra helped me to see that I could now go to college to pursue my educational goals," Miller said. "My mom and aunt helped by providing school supplies, some money and clothes for myself and my children."

After applying to MVC, Miller landed a student-worker job in the Career and Transfer Center. Soon after she was directed to the EOPS/Care program and eventually to CalWorks program.

The EOPS (Extended Opportunity Programs and Services) is a California state-funded program that assists economically and educationally disadvantaged students The CARE program helps single parents. CalWORKs provides instruction, counseling and support services, job search employment preparation opportunities and childcare assistance as well as work experience/work-study opportunities for students currently receiving benefits.

With a solid foundation, Miller immersed herself in her studies and extra-curricular activities. As a student government officer she served in a variety of roles, from a council representative to ASMVC vice president.

"ASMVC (Associated Students of Moreno Valley College) opened my eyes to the inner workings of a community college, allowing me to network and help other students through the community college process. Frankie Moore is an inspiration for all the tireless effort she puts into making a successful and fun academic year."

Miller says that during her walk across the graduation stage she'll be reflecting on how Moreno Valley College made her new life possible.

"Moreno Valley College has instilled a deeper respect for community, by showing me how students, staff and faculty work together to make it the best college possible," Miller said. "The friendships and experience will be some of the best memories I will have."

She'll continue her journey at Cal State San Bernardino, where she'll major in Health Care Administration with a minor in Nutrition in order to make a difference in the community she now calls home.

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Brenda Munoz

Student Success Story 4

Brenda Munoz has used the painful moments in her life to grow stronger on her road to success.

Her graduation from Moreno Valley College (MVC) on June 12 will cap a 2 1/2 year process of earning associate degrees in Human Services and Social and Behavioral Sciences. While finishing up classes at MVC, she is also enrolled at La Sierra University where she ultimately will earn a bachelor's degree in Social Work.

She has pursued a degree in social work because she knew her personal experience with issues caused by abuse, neglect, and chemical dependency would allow her to help and assist with a broad spectrum of the people in the community.

"I faced many difficult challenges, before I found my road to success," Munoz said. "My early road was difficult and sad as I am a survivor of severe childhood abuse. I came to the realization that I was allowed to experience cruel acts to be able to help others. I consider myself lucky, and blessed by God, to have a strong mind that has enabled me to pull myself out of alcoholism, drug addiction and violent relationships. As a child, I lived in terror every day."

A single-mother of four, Munoz worked low-wage retail jobs and labor-intensive warehouse jobs, sometimes clocking16-hour days. Yet she found herself "getting no where."


In the spring of 2011, she decided education was her way out. She enrolled at MVC and through the assistance of the CalWorks program began to make progress. CalWORKs provides instruction, counseling and support services, job search employment preparation opportunities and childcare assistance as well as work experience/work-study opportunities for students currently receiving benefits.

"The CalWORKs program at MVC encouraged me to believe in myself and helped me establish a long-term educational goals and a plan for my chosen career path," she said. "It assisted me in meeting my financial difficulties and grew my job skills. The personal growth I experienced allows me to handle those challenging moments at home and at work."

In addition to finishing classes at MVC and starting classes at La Sierra University, Munoz is building her resume. She recently completed an internship and has been hired, pending her state certification, to facilitate domestic violence batterers' treatment--a 52-week court approved training group.

Ultimately, she hopes to develop a nonprofit organization to assist children and women suffering from neglect, abuse or domestic violence.

"My life started out rough, but it doesn't need to end that way," Munoz said. "I am exactly where I need to be at this moment. My success is because of God's unconditional love and the many people that have helped me on this journey, like my CalWORKs mentor (Terrie Hawthorne), the GAIN staff, my childcare providers, my family, but most importantly my children (Heavenly Angel, 10, Jesse Jr., 9, Precious Faith, 5 and Vincent Carlos Estrada, 2) who have been so patient and understanding in my sacrifice to change my life to be a good mother, role model, provider and citizen."

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