Dulce Toriz “My dad built our whole house in Hidalgo, Mexico. So I’m like, ‘Hey! Maybe this thing kind of runs in the family!’”

The English language can be oceanic in its complexity and nuance. And when—seven years ago—Dulce Toriz landed in that ocean, it was ‘sink or swim.’ “I actually went to school in Bel Air, and there was no one who spoke Spanish,” recalls Dulce. “I didn’t speak a word of English, but I learned quickly. And now I just feel completely confident with English, whether it’s in writing or speaking.” Dulce credits one SMC teacher in particular with her perfect fluency.

“Mr. Vishwanadha is definitely the best teacher I’ve had at SMC, because he always made us analyze and rewrite our essays a lot,” she says. “This made me think differently about the language. And the way he teaches, it’s really more like you’re having a very personal conversation with him.” Though she’s thoroughly mastered the structure of English, it’s ‘structure’ of another sort that Dulce ultimately wants to master.

“I’m getting all my basic classes done now, so I can get into Architectural Design,” she says. “At one point, I thought about being in Psychology, but I’ve always been attracted to buildings,” she says. “I don’t even mind the long drive over here from Huntington Park, as long as I have buildings to look at,” she says with a laugh. “And someday, I’ll be looking at buildings that I’ve made as an architect.” Dulce adds, “My mom is a little bit sad that I have to drive so far and work so hard. But I tell her, ‘Mom, nobody is forcing me to do this. These are my choices.’ And I never thought any of this was going to be easy!”

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