Child Development / Ethnicity

Debbie Herrera “Being the first in my family is a real challenge to me. But it’s also a privilege that I’m definitely ready to work for.”

Sacrifice. It’s what close-knit families do for each other in times of need. And so it is with Debbie Herrera, who has chosen to put the fast track to medical school on temporary hold. “I’m the firstborn in my family, and Mom’s a single parent. And I’ve got a little brother. So I juggle my homework with helping him with his, and it means long hours. I mean, I didn’t go straight from high school to college,” she says. “And I’m not putting myself down, because I’m definitely bettering myself. But I want my brother to go right from high school into whatever university he chooses.”

Debbie is practically a billboard for the system of tutoring labs that SMC offers to those looking to add extra ‘oomph!’ to their studies. “I’ve had math labs and English labs, and they’ve both been incredibly helpful to me. Okay, I’m taking Math 31, and it’s been a real blur to me because I took a year off after high school. But all the help I need is right there for me at the Bundy campus, where there’s a little lab. I’ve found a tutor who’s calm and understanding, and who’s taught me some amazing techniques that make studying math both interesting and fun.” And math is most assuredly in Debbie’s future as she pushes on with her goal of becoming a pediatrician.

“I’ve been progressing in all my classes really well and I’m getting all A’s and B’s. So there’s a really good chance that I’ll transfer to UCLA and then go on to Berkeley for my pre-med studies. Oh, there’s another teacher that I have to mention that I had for English,” says Debbie. “Ms. Gorgie. She gave us so much more than just the English language. She’s also a philosopher who showed us so much about the way the world and life works. She is very special.”

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