“Still I Rise” – Maya Angelou
Maya Thompson was selected Student Speaker for SMC’s 2019 Commencement. She decided to attend SMC after googling “Top 10 Community Colleges in California” — Santa Monica College was first on the list. “As a nontraditional student, it was difficult for me at first,” she said. “However, taking that initial step ultimately changed my life for the better.”
She joined the Black Collegians and Adelante programs, as well as Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. “Getting involved with clubs on campus had a big impact on me,” said Maya. “The support I received from the Umoja Community and Adelante family gave me a solid foundation and provided me with a second place to call home.”
For the last year, Maya faced homelessness while pursuing her degree at SMC. “I’ve made the ultimate sacrifice to fulfill my goals. It was a long hard road, but I am proud of all my collegiate accomplishments,” she said. Maya recently received her second Academic Achievement Certificate from Black Collegians, and she was also awarded the Youth Empowerment Scholarship through the SMC Foundation.
Maya is very active in giving back to the community and donates time to various organizations. During the spring semester, Maya was a mentor in SMC’s Sister to Sister program at John Adams Middle School (JAMS). “Volunteerism is the backbone of my existence,” said Maya. “Giving back to others in need is an honor and a privilege that I gladly take on.”
Maya is a scholar in UCLA’s Center for Community College Partnerships Program, which assists students in transferring to UCLA. “The CCCP program has strengthened my academic knowledge, and given me the courage to obtain the unthinkable.”
She aspires to use her background and education to open a performing arts center for youth in the community. “I strive to motivate and educate our future leaders. My ultimate goal in life is to leave my mark on the world as an individual who was dedicated to influencing positive change through media, art, and entertainment.”
Maya graduated from SMC with an Associate degree in Social and Behavioral Sciences. She transferred to the UCLA Department of World Arts and Cultures with a minor in Film Studies.