Jonathan Arciniega is the Jr. Digital Media Intern for CULTIVATE EXCELLENCE Consulting. Currently, a Junior at Romeoville High School, Jonathan is on a path to graduate from high school early to begin preparing for his college career. He plans to work, save money, and attend Joliet Junior College in the Fall of 2018.
By: Jonathan Arciniega
I remember standing in the cold, crisp Chicago Christmas air across the street from Union Station thinking to myself, “Oh boy, this is going to be a long day.” I had the camera in my hands and raised it to my face to take a photo of the front of station. The camera was not my own. It was the camera of one of my future trainers and bosses, I just didn't know it yet.
My mother was a client of Ms. Alberty's and was invited to Operation Jesus, an event to feed the homeless in downtown Chicago. I first met Ms. Alberty, President and Founder of CULTIVATE EXCELLENCE and OPERATION JESUS, at a Pre-Packaging event where she asked me to take a few photos. After the event she saw the photos I took and offered me a chance to take photos downtown for Operation Jesus. I happily said yes to the offer and got myself prepared, but it was pretty clear that I was still a novice.
Santos Gutierrez knows a thing or two about college prep and success having worked at Lansing Community College as a high school recruiter, multicultural recruiter, customer relationship specialist and student success coach. Each position has helped him gain a deeper view into how to truly help students navigate college but no other experience has been as helpful as his very own second chance story. Above, Gutierrez, president of Alsame (Advocates of Latino Student Achievement of Michigan Education), speaks at Alsame's High School Conference at Signaw Valley State University.
By: Santos Gutierrez
I remember loading up the truck in the morning with a new type of excitement I hadn't felt before. I was the first in my family of five siblings to be accepted to go to college. I picked up my brother from work and we drove an hour and half to my new home, a dorm room on the campus of Eastern Michigan University. We moved my stuff inside and with a goodbye hug my brother drove off. Coming from a middle class family in Michigan, you'd think this was a typical scenario. But it wasn't. Not for me. I didn't have anyone to show me the ropes. Actually, looking back, I didn't know what I was doing. Fortunately, a seed was planted back then and thanks to the power of a second chance, I'm reaping the harvest on it and helping others.
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