David Hanson “Steven Spielberg got denied when he applied to USC. I don’t know that I’ll ever be as famous as he is, but I sure hope I make it into SC.”

The pressure was on, full force. The future of David Hanson—who’s been at SMC since ’97—was on the line, and he was sweating it out. “It’s going better now because—when I started out here—my grades weren’t very good. But I pulled them up last year,” says David, “and when I talked with the USC counselor, he said they might accept me based on an upward trend. So they’re waiting to see my fall grades before they make their final decision. I’ll feel like I’ve responded to the challenge when the right grades show up.” Now that’s pressure. But fortunately for David – Renaissance man that he is – he does have an outlet.

“I’ve been studying guitar with Arnold Lessing, and he’s a really cool teacher. I had him for Popular Guitar and now I’m studying Flamenco. He starts out treating everyone—even experts—like they’re first beginning. And that allows you to quickly build your skills and confidence to where you can easily start playing some pretty sophisticated music.”

To turn his educational ‘menu’ into more manageable bites, David has made good use of the night classes offered at SMC. “The Screenwriting class I’m in right now is a night class, but I’ve also studied Journalism during those hours. And I really don’t see any difference between nighttime teachers and all the others at SMC. Some are good and relaxed, some grade harshly, but they all have high expectations of you.” High expectations are also what David expects at USC. “They’ve had more people nominated for Academy Awards than any other college,” he says. “I just hope some of that talent rubs off on me.”

Read more stories from present and past years in the SMC Student Spotlight Archive.