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Dallas College’s Best Stories From 2022

The story of Dallas College is best told through our students. Past, present and future students are the lifeblood of the school. And there’s never a shortage of uplifting and inspiring stories walking the hallways on a daily basis.

Only time will tell where our students go from here.

Maybe we’ll have another Jason Blackwell, a former culinary student who won an episode of “Chopped” on the Food Network this year. Or Abi Gutierrez, a former student athlete of the year who threw out the first pitch on Dallas College night at a Texas Rangers game this summer.

As Dr. Justin Lonon said as he became the school’s eighth chancellor in March, “Dallas College will continue to remove the barriers to education and create job opportunities for students who want to enroll in a career. There is much work to be done, but Dallas College has already created a culture of care, impact and innovation for our students and the community.”

Here are five stories from the last year that paint the picture of Dallas College.

John Gonzalez

John Gonzalez  embodies the type of student that makes Dallas College a special place. Gonzalez, who is deaf and a first-generation student, served as an inspiration to many as he graduated last spring.

“As a student with a disability, it’s been challenging,” he said. “Since my parents didn’t go to college, I didn’t have much help and didn’t know how to create a college plan. There were also times when I’d be in class without an interpreter or not have the captioning needed for lectures.

“But thankfully, I got with the TRIO and Accessibility offices at Dallas College, and they both stepped up to help me with everything. I was shocked by all the resources they had for students like me, and I’m so grateful.”

Karrington Bennett

The Fall 2020 graduate is the perfect example of the foundation that Dallas College can provide. Bennett is a first-generation student and woman of color who is continuing her education at Southern Methodist University.

“It wasn’t until Dallas College that I was given the resources and opportunities I needed,” she said. “I formed the foundation of my leadership skills, which is why I am so grateful because without those experiences, I would not have been able to be successful or attend SMU.”

Sneaker Lab

Who says school can’t be cool? The Sneaker Lab was a great testament to what Dallas College is all about, providing unique experiences to set students up for a lifetime of success.

Students at the Cedar Valley Campus participated in a four-day sneaker lab in August where they designed and marketed their own Air Force 1 concepts with hands-on training and virtual meetings with Nike executives.

“The potential future implications of a program like this are huge,” Cedar Valley President Joe Seabrooks said. “We have a lot of young people who are not sure if college is for them, if higher education is a good investment, so these types of discovery experiences allow students to gain access to people in the profession and tap into talents and skills they may not know they even had.”

Day One

The first day of Fall classes always brings a renewed energy, and this year was no different. Whether students were returning to campus for another semester, or setting foot on it for the first time, Day One delivered by bringing life to the seven campuses.

And it’s always interesting to hear varying perspectives, particularly from one of our 12,000 international students.

Take Moya Djigbenou, for instance. She’s the youngest of six children, born and raised in Ivory Coast, West Africa, and started her studies at Dallas College in the Fall.

As she put it, Dallas College is “providing the quality education that I need and giving me the opportunities I need to afford that education — such as scholarships, good professors and quality programs and classes.”

Nikki Brilliant

Dallas College describes itself as being in the “barrier-busting business.” It’s hard to find a student that fits that mold better than Nikki Brilliant.

Brilliant is on pace to graduate in the Spring of 2024 from the Honda PACT (Professional Automotive Career Training) as she turns her passion for cars into a career.

“It’s important to bring women into male-dominated industries,” she said. “I just want to make women feel empowered and comfortable when they visit a shop or dealership.”

Published inWhy Dallas College?