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GRAD Spotlight: Oscar Diaz Jr.

Oscar Diaz Jr.
By Greg MacDonald

June 07, 2022 - 09:23 AM

GRAD SPOTLIGHT is a series where we will be highlighting our 2022 graduates' stories. The series runs on the Mt. SAC social media channels.
Oscar Diaz Jr. grew up in a deaf community, both of his parents are deaf, and he didn’t realize he could hear until he was in kindergarten. While in school, Oscar could not find a way to fit in with the hearing students, so he was constantly getting himself in trouble.
“I was a very angry, confused, and lost person,” he says.
Oscar turned to drugs and alcohol, hung out with the wrong crowd, and was in and out of jail.
“I wasted a lot of years thinking that my life did not matter,” he says, “and I was not worthy of anything better.”
Instead of continuing to waste his life, Oscar woke up one day a few years ago and decided to make a change.
“It was time for me to finally pursue the educational opportunities I had been denying myself all these years,” he says. “My background in American Sign Language (ASL), interpreting for my parents, and involvement in the deaf community prompted me to seek certification in ASL/Interpreting.”
When he started his classes at Mt. SAC, Oscar immediately expanded his educational goals.
“I decided not only to seek certification for ASL/Interpreting,” he says, “but also to continue my education and earn bachelor’s and master’s degrees with the goal of becoming a college professor and advocate for the deaf community.”
Oscar, who is a peer mentor with Rising Scholars, plans to transfer with a 3.96 GPA to either Cal State Fullerton or Cal State Long Beach. But before he does, Oscar gets to enjoy walking across the stage at Commencement on June 10.
“This will be the first time I have ever graduated from any school and been able to participate in a commencement ceremony,” he says. “Graduating is the accumulation of a lifetime of uncertainties, disappointments, and discouragements being overcome. My hard work and perseverance have paid off, and I am finally able to satisfy my hunger for higher education. It is the first step in my educational journey, and I am humbled to be able to finally be called a graduate.”

For more information, visit the Commencement page.