Student Portraits: The First Days of 2023-24 School Year

(LtoR) Danny Malone, Johnny Moreno, Ryan Walker

August 31, 2023 - 03:54 PM

Business major and member of the Football team, Ryan Walker (far right above),  looks over the campus from the second story balcony of the brand new Student Center. Ryan stands with his friends, and fellow Business majors, Danny Malone (far left) and Johnny Moreno (center).  

“My experience at Mt. SAC has been awesome, honestly,” said Ryan. “From the professors to the coaches. It’s like a big family. There’s so many good people who really help out. With all the new facilities, it’s awesome to see Mt. SAC improving. But it’s improving for the students, as well.”

DJ Agbayani walks up the steps of Bldg. 26, with the Student Center prominently in the background.

DJ Agbayani, Mechanical Engineering major, walks up the steps of Bldg. 26, with the Student Center prominently in the background.

"Mt. SAC is a beautiful campus and it’s affordable,” said DJ. “And it’s right next to Cal Poly. The transfer program from Mt. SAC to Cal Poly is amazing. So, everything is right here.” Now out of high school, DJ is looking forward to having more life experiences. "I want to be more involved with clubs. I would be down to join with a martial arts club or class.” 

Araba Midley(L) and Sam Lim (R) sit in the Student Center

First-year Nursing student Araba Midley is on the left and with Sam Lim, who majors in Animation. They relax in the nice and cool Student Center, as temps pushed triple digits outdoors  the first days of the Fall semester.

"It’s very cool,” said Araba, speaking of the facility, not the air conditioning. “It’s got these tall ceilings. Very wow.” She is a bit undecided between Nursing or Veterinary Science. “I am thinking of transferring, so my family will save money if I start at Mt. SAC…I’m looking forward to meeting new people and doing a bunch of clubs and finding out more who I am.” 

Paige Fast (L) and Madison Dorsey underwater at the Aquatics Center.

The Gym & Aquatics Center is just one semester old, and Psychology major Paige Fast (left) and Kinesiology major Madison Dorsey are happy to be on the swim team on these 100-plus-degree days.

“It’s a really good community here,” said Madison. “The coaches really push you to be better... in a good way. So, I’m hoping to have a good swim season here this year and then transfer out to a four-year university.”

Amani Martin looks at book in the libraryAnother way to stay cool is in the library, as first-year Nursing student Amani Martin found out. 

“It’s cheaper and easier to have the college experience (at Mt. SAC),” said Amani. “I feel like there are way more resources here that I could use.” Amani was first exposed when Mt. SAC's High School Outreach team visited her school. "Then I toured the campus and liked it very much. I felt like I belonged here. I could fit in.”

Mark Anthony behind the wheel of a tractor

Not staying cool at all was Mark Anthony, working in the greenhouses around the Horticulture unit on the campus farm. Mark has been in the Horticulture program for a while, having graduated with one degree already. He is now majoring in Agriculture Science & Technology and Integrated Pest Management, on track to graduate in the Spring.

“Once you’re part of the program, you really feel like its family. I originally started in another program, but I had the idea to do something in agriculture, so I took a class. I like all the opportunities and potential in the industry.”

Stephanie Zepeda crouches in the shade of a lawn

Stephanie Zepeda was going to Mt. SAC for Child Development, when she dropped out back in 2016. “That’s something I always wanted to do: work with kids,” she said. Stephanie moved out of state, but always wanted to return to finish up and now she has.

“It’s never too late. I’ve got to finish what I started, you know?”

Noe Torres talks with a lab tech in Mt. SAC's commercial production kitchen.

Culinary major Noe Torres has been going to Mt. SAC for four years now and looks forward to completing his Culinary degree this year. He’s only got two more classes to go.

“I started off taking some cooking classes here and there before deciding to go on and get my degree,” said Noe. “I love it here. It’s a great environment, state-of-the-art facilities, everything is new and the professors are great. It’s a good time. I have children that love to eat and so I try to learn as much as possible and get them to eat healthy.”    

Angel Quesada looking through telescope

Angel Quesada is undecided on his major, having taken a break of four or five years from college.

“I started at Mt. SAC right after high school, but I didn’t do that great, so I didn’t come back for a while. But this time I’m going to try harder.”  He put himself on the waiting list for Astronomy and got in. “I really like Astronomy, " he said. "I’m looking forward to the Planetarium and the telescopes. But, the math is kind of hard. I would like to transfer to a university.”

Danny Soto-Gonzalez hangs out in the garden in the Science's courtyard.

Danny Soto-Gonzalez discovered the campus has many shaded areas and gardens for students to relax between classes. 

“This campus feels a lot bigger than a community college,” said Danny, a first-year student who drives from Rialto. “I got drawn to this school. I walked around the campus and looked at the facilities over the summer. My older brother is in the Aerospace program at Cal Poly (Pomona), and he recommended the Aircraft Maintenance program here. I have always been hands on with cars and stuff. So, it was kind of given for me to try this.”

Albert Infante the computer in an Architecture class.

First-year student Albert Infante comes from a long line of architects and has decided to follow in their footsteps.

“My cousins are architects and I saw that growing up and always wanted to do that,” said Albert. “I’m looking forward to meeting new people and getting the experience to see what I’m getting into and see where it takes me.”   

Dr. Garcia (R) with student at an information booth

Mt. SAC wants to give a warm welcome to all its new and returning students. Dr. Martha Garcia, the college's new and 10th president, was out greeting students and helping out at one of the info booths that are located around campus as the school year got under way. Be sure to visit one of the three booths for a campus map and all the info you may need to get yourself around our very, very large campus.