Samantha Valle is devoted to her family, her studies, and her community, all of which drive her and motivate her to persevere through the challenges life presents. “There are obstacles and
things come up, but there is a way to make it work,” said Valle. “We all face challenges all the time.”
Valle, a non-traditional student, graduated from King Drew Medical Magnet High School in 2006 and enrolled at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona after graduation. Shortly into her studies at Cal Poly Pomona, Valle had to drop out due to a serious illness and hospitalization. Once she recovered, she continued her studies at another community college before pausing her studies again to devote more time to her family.
Even when uncontrollable circumstances and shifting priorities caused Valle to change her educational plans, her goal remained unchanged—to help support her family and give back to the community. Earning a degree was something Valle knew would ultimately help her achieve her goals and the COVID-19 pandemic ended up being the catalyst she needed to return to college thanks to the convenience of online learning offered at Compton College. At the onset of the pandemic, she became unemployed and had no one at home to watch her children, so she decided to finish what she had started years ago and complete her college education through distance learning.
In 2020, she enrolled at Compton College upon her brother’s recommendation. He is an alumnus and had great things to say about Compton College. Once Valle began taking online classes, she soon realized she was right where she belonged. “Enrolling at Compton College was one of the best things I have done, and I wish I had done it sooner,” said Valle. “Once I saw all the resources and assistance the staff and faculty provided to me, I was glad I made the choice to enroll.”
The resources that Valle has taken advantage of at Compton College have supported her success in higher education the third time around. “Compton College has been a blessing; I get emotional just thinking about it!” she said. She is enrolled in Extended Opportunity Programs and Services (EOPS), which provides many benefits including priority registration; referrals to student support services; student enhancement workshops; funds for educational supplies; academic achievement grants; and more. She has also received financial aid, earned a $2,500 scholarship through Go Beyond, visited the transfer center to stay on track with her transfer goals, and received laptop computer and Wi-Fi hotspot loans, free parking, and free meals through the EveryTable Cafeteria on campus.
“Through my experience, I want others to see that you can get a college education at any age or in any circumstance. Put yourself out there. Be willing to do the work. I think I’m a good example. I have three kids and a full course load. It’s hard work, but it can be done. I made a point to set my mind to graduating from college and earning my degree. Compton College is there to help.”
Valle is on track to graduate from Compton College in June 2023 with three associate degrees, an associate degree for transfer (AS-T) in early childhood education, and a permit to work in preschools and childcare programs. Permits are earned by accumulating a specified number of hours of work experience with young children and taking the child development practicum course. Currently, Valle has an assistant teacher permit, but when she graduates in June, she will have accrued enough work experience hours to earn a head teacher permit, allowing her to be a head teacher at a preschool. She has applied to several four-year universities including the CSU Long Beach, Dominguez Hills, and Los Angeles campuses, as well as Cal Poly Pomona. She plans to transfer in fall 2023 and earn a bachelor’s degree in either child development or early education development depending upon the university she is accepted to.
Valle’s future career plan is to start as a preschool teacher and work her way up to director where she will have the opportunity to interact more directly with community members and other parents. Giving back to her community is important to Valle. She hopes to support her community and act as a positive example, “I want to give back and motivate moms and let them know that improving their situation is possible. Don’t think that just because you are a mom or are older, you can’t go to college. You can succeed and be a mom.”