Every year, Glendale Community College selects a few outstanding students to receive a special award for all their hard work. Teachers can nominate the undergrad of their choice who has proven themselves deserving of such collegiate accolades.
This year, the Student Recognition Day dinner is taking place today in the Student Union from 6 – 9 p. m.
Selected students and their guests will enjoy a buffet-style dinner and listen to inspiring speeches from some of the very instructors who nominated them.
One of this year’s Student Recognition Award recipients, journalism major Steven Hernandez, will accept his certificate knowing that all of his hard work is finally paying off with English and Journalism Instructor, Jenna Duncan.
“Jenna Duncan [nominated me] for outstanding participation in group and club activities,” said Hernandez. “I’m in here, not exactly working every day, but I’m in the newsroom every day and I try to send my stories in early, that way I can get them revised and redo them. I’m not necessarily trying harder, it was just that I was more engaged at earlier points in the semester.”
Although Hernandez initially shied away from journalism despite his attraction to all things news, enrolling in Professor Duncan’s class proved to be instrumental in choosing his career path.
“I’ve always loved the news and I feel like being in Ms. Duncan’s class has allowed me to further that because I know at the beginning I was wishy washy on journalism and I tried to do classes that involved my second option as a major but I didn’t enjoy it,” said Hernandez.
“I think it was just me being afraid that I’m gonna go through all these courses and then I’m not gonna get a good job or I’m not gonna get this or that. But it’s just the only thing I really enjoy so it doesn’t matter if it’s hard right now. Eventually it’s going get to the point where I’m just writing and nothing else is going to matter because I’m gonna just love my job so much that it’s not even going to feel like working,” said Hernandez.
Duncan echoed this same sentiment about Hernandez.
“Steven has shown me his serious side. When I first met him, I sometimes worried that he was distracted, or not giving his all to school. But in the last three months, I’ve noticed a turn-around,” said Duncan. “He seems to have identified his career goals and raised his own stakes. He seems more interested in school and more willing to go the extra mile to be a successful journalist.”
Hernandez started to focus his energy on writing about the educators at GCC, a decision which contributed to his success.
“I like doing profiles on teachers because we have a really good faculty here and I like to let other people know that,” said Hernandez “Like just because its community college it doesn’t mean we lack great teachers.”
With graduation only months away and an elite award under his belt, Hernandez has already started planning his next move.
“I’m going to Arizona State University in August and I’m going to do journalism and minor in business, so that’s exciting,” said Hernandez.
He has also set his discerning eye on exactly where he would like to end up after graduating from ASU with his bachelor’s degree.
“I want to write for a publication that’s semi editorial but then they still do get some facts and opinions in there,” said Hernandez. “Like Esquire or the New Yorker.”
Duncan foresees Hernandez’ career leading him out to the East Coast, but writing for a slightly different New York based publication.
“I can easily imagine Steven working as an investigative journalist with a serious, professional news crew at CNN or The New York Times,” said Duncan. “If he doesn’t end up a reporter, I see him using his logic and writing skills in another serious application, perhaps as a communications expert for the EPA or another branch of the U.S. government.”
For now, Hernandez will continue to write for GCC’s The Voice newspaper while he gears up for graduation in May. At the Student Recognition Dinner tonight, he’ll be thinking of family and of his very proud mother.
“My mom was pretty happy, she congratulated me. [My family] is just excited to see me further my education because I’m a first generation college student,” said Hernandez. “I’m going to be the first one to graduate college even though I’m like the fourth oldest, so everybody’s just kind glad to see that I was able to do that especially with my mom being a single mother.”