Aiming for a bright future at MSJC and beyond

August 18, 2015

With their sights set on the future, thousands of students returned for classes on Aug. 17, 2015 at Mt. San Jacinto College.

On the first day of the Fall 2015 semester, 14,852 students were enrolled in classes. The headcount is up from 14,266 students on the first day of fall 2014. MSJC is able to offer more classes in all of its five locations: the San Jacinto and Menifee Valley campuses, the San Gorgonio Pass Campus, the Temecula Education Complex and the Temecula Higher Education Center.

Many students are aiming for career training programs. Others have set their dreams on two-year degrees and transfers to four-year universities and beyond. Whatever their goals, the students can find what they need at MSJC.

From Banning to Temecula, every MSJC student has an inspiring story. Frankie Ridder got her start in higher education a few semesters ago when she joined her son after he enrolled at the San Gorgonio Pass Campus. At first, Ridder took a music class that caught her interest. But her classroom success drew her on to take more and more academic courses. Last year, she earned straight As and made the Honor Roll.

“I have a whole new life and lots of new friends on campus,” said the 39-year-old Banning resident. “And I really enjoy school now.”

Ridder, who is majoring in business, eventually hopes to open her own thrift shop to help the community.

“It’s my turn to give back and say thank you for the opportunity that MSJC has provided me,” she said.

Menifee resident Heather Slessor chatted with other students as she waited in line with her two-year-old son to buy textbooks.“I want to get the most out of every class that I take at MSJC,” Slessor, 36-year-old, said.

This semester, algebra, anthropology and child development classes will keep Slessor busy. On Monday, she picked up her first textbook, Essentials of Physical Anthropology.

Slessor is majoring in child development and hopes to earn her Associate of Arts degree by the end of the school year. She has her heart set on transferring to a four-year university to pursue child development studies and earn a Bachelor of Arts degree.

“I’ve always loved working with kids,” she said.

Opening Day was in full swing at the San Jacinto campus, where students found their classrooms, perused textbooks and supplies in the bookstore, and congregated under giant shade trees.

Sydney Wright, 20, of Hemet, and Donatis Scoggins, 22, of Corona, were happy to catch up with each other after the long summer break. They chatted under a campus tree while waiting for their next class to start.

Wright, a business major with an emphasis in marketing, plans to earn her Associate of Arts Degree at MSJC then transfer to California State University San Marcos. One day, Wright’s ultimate goal is to become a CEO after earning her Bachelor of Arts in business administration.

“This year, I plan to study hard and ask lots of questions in class to broaden my knowledge,” she said.

As an aspiring actor, Scoggins is majoring in theatrical arts at MSJC in San Jacinto. It’s been a passion throughout his life.

Scoggins plans to earn his Associate of Arts Degree and then transfer to Baylor University in Texas and study for a Master’s Degree or maybe even a doctorate in Theatrical Arts.

But this school year, he will focus on earning straight As.

His determination and focus were a theme shared by thousands of students as they headed back to school.

Frankie Ridder
Frankie Ridder of Banning gets ready for her class on the first day of the Fall 2015 semester at  Mt. San Jacinto College’s San Gorgonio Pass Campus.

Heather Slessor
Heather Slessor of Menifee shops for books on the first day of the Fall 2015 semester at Mt. San Jacinto College’s Menifee Valley Campus. 

MSJC Students
Mt. San Jacinto College students (left to right) Kathryn Flores, Ilona Smetana, Donatis Scoggins, Sydney Wright and Dominic Renales joke around before classes on the first day of the Fall 2015 semester on the San Jacinto Campus.