Carlos Ornelas graduated from Lynwood High School in 1997, but it would be years before he eventually enrolled at El Camino College Compton Center in 2011. Once Ornelas, a single father, made the decision to return to school, he jumped in with both feet. Currently, he serves as vice president of the Associated Student Body (ASB) and is looking forward to transferring to University of California at Berkeley; Davis; or Irvine; or UCLA in fall 2013 to continue his studies in English.
Ornelas initially began college as an audio engineering major, but quickly realized that changing courses to study English would fulfill his lifelong passion for reading and writing. Ornelas penned two first-place entries in the latest Voices of Compton literary journal, an annual compilation of students' written and artistic work. His piece "Underdog" won best poem, and "Children of the Universe" earned him top honors in the spoken word category.
ECC Compton Center English Professor Ruth Roach has also invited him to assist in the editing process for the next edition of Voices of Compton.
"Carlos has a wonderful passion for and sense of language, so it was quite natural that he responded to an invitation to participate as a student editor for the Voices of Compton literary journal," said Roach. "I am thrilled to have him on board, knowing he has a busy schedule with both his studies and involvement in student life as part of the leadership of the ASB."
Ornelas has relied heavily on a variety of ECC Compton Center services and resources to ensure his success as a student after taking several years off to work and raise his daughter. Specifically, Extended Opportunity Program and Services (EOP&S) and services at the Transfer Center have made the transfer process manageable for Ornelas every step along the way.
"I participated in the Northern California University Tour and am so glad I did because it was an eye-opening experience that led me to apply to UC Berkeley and UC Davis," said Ornelas. "The Transfer Center has not only been instrumental in helping me decide which schools to apply to, but also in providing information on deadlines and scholarships."
Ultimately, Ornelas would like to earn both a bachelor's and master's degree in English, and return to ECC Compton Center to teach.
"I am so appreciative of the opportunities that have been given to me," said Ornelas. "Nothing would make me happier than to serve the community that has served me by helping other students discover their academic potential."