GCCCD Annual Report 2021-2022
Studying to become a golf course superintendent
Matthew Allen, 33, enrolled in Cuyamaca in fall 2021 after overcoming some great personal
challenges. Allen is today grounded in his church, and holds two jobs. He has saved
enough money to buy a car. Pursuing an education is helping to “straighten my life
out and make up for lost time,” he said.
Nazick Al Nassar
Taking her future into her own hands
Born in Iraq with severe allergies, Nazick Al Nassar’s health challenges hampered
her ability to excel in school. Now an El Cajon resident, she decided to take her
health and future into her own hands. Al Nassar, 39, is a participant of the Promise
Shifted careers into the water industry
After working around the country for 20 years in the zoological industry as an educator
and zookeeper, in 2018 Elizabeth Rich moved back to San Diego. For a time, Rich ran
her own equestrian education business. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, business dried
up. She decided to change careers to something more resilient to economic ups and
downs and chose the water operations industry.
Building a career around giving back
Lorenzo Santoro began his second year at Grossmont College in the fall of 2022, and
he already has a vision for his future – one of giving back to his community. A 19-year
old resident of La Mesa, Santoro says he wants to develop a career in real estate,
and provide affordable housing for people who have limited resources.
Plans to pursue career in medical radiology
For Melissa Upchurch, 36, enrolling at Grossmont College in the summer of 2021 was
a kind of homecoming. Two decades earlier, she had attended the college as a 16-year-old
Grossmont High School student, taking college-level classes while also completing
high school courses. “I had a huge amount of ambition to really put a lot of emphasis
into my education … but then I wound up having a baby and could not continue,” said
Upchurch, who obtained her high school diploma prior to having her first child when
she was 18.
Working toward a career in education policymaking
Sara Yogi, 26, and her family emigrated from Nepal to the United States in 1999. The
U.S. education system has at times been challenging to navigate. A graduate of Rancho
Bernardo High School, Yogi first entered Grossmont College in 2016 but struggled with
income and housing uncertainty and stopped her studies there. She returned to Grossmont
in 2020 to pursue a career in education.