There was a time when Laniece Gallegos thought she’d come to the end of her educational road. “I really didn’t enjoy high school, and that made me feel like not studying at all any more. Period. I just felt completely trapped. But then I saw how people’s lives were changing through learning, and I decided I wanted an education for myself.” So, nearly every day, Laniece and her mom make a horrendous drive from Palmdale; her mom to work, and Laniece to learn.
“I don’t really mind all the driving because it gets me to SMC, where everything is open and so beautiful. And I love that we’re so close to the beach!” As she emerges from her high school ‘shell,’ Laniece is well on her way to becoming an enthusiastic student. “I’m studying Theatre Arts 41 now, and it’s been a real breakthrough for me. The teacher is really great! He’s very funny, but he’s also a tough critic. He never babies us, and he’s always showing us what we need to improve on. He’s a strong-minded guy,” adds Laniece. “But he really cares about our skills getting better and better.”
Laniece reports that “the financial aid that I’ve gotten at SMC has been incredibly important for me. It helped me buy my books and get prepared for college in general. It even helped me to buy a laptop for my online class.” Though things are looking up for Laniece, her road hasn’t been an easy one. “I had a lot of people putting me down, telling me that I’d never go anywhere. But I can tell you this: My mom is very proud that her child is now going to college.”
Read more stories from present and past years in the SMC Profiles Archive.