Compton College 2020 graduate Jonathon Riptoe was selected as the student speaker for the college's 2020 Commencement Ceremony. Riptoe, a 2016 graduate of King/Drew Magnet High School of Medicine and Science, is an honors student who will transfer to the University of California, Irvine in fall 2020 as an English major. He hopes to pursue a career as a video game developer and one day establish his own video game development studio.
His commencement speech focused on the pursuit of truth, overcoming adversity, and the power of education to transform. Riptoe says he applied to be the student speaker this year because he believes he is the perfect example of the rewards of the educational system. "When I started my educational journey, I was at rock bottom. I was orphaned and homeless," said Riptoe. "Now, I’m on my way to my dream university."
He credits Compton College with providing vital resources to all students, but especially to those in need. He took advantage of the college's Extended Opportunity Programs and Services (EOPS), a program for eligible economically and educationally disadvantage students who want to get an education, but do not have the resources to enroll in college. EOPS students receive many benefits including priority registration; referrals to student support services; student enhancement workshops; funds for educational supplies including book vouchers; transportation assistance; academic achievement grants; and more. "One of the best student services at Compton College is the food pantry. Having a full stomach before class really kept me on my A-game; conversely, there were times when the food pantry served as my only meal for the day,"he said.
Riptoe says the smaller campus environment at Compton College helped him more easily navigate his college experience and get all of the assistance he needed to be successful. "Compton has helped me reach my goals by teaching me the purpose of educational merit," he said. "The more that I focused on my studies here, the more opportunities came my way. I was able to secure a scholarship, gain a student worker position with my professor, have a voice in advocacy for change, and acquire meaningful letters of recommendation."