Graduate Spotlight: Melissa Cordova, Class of 2013

Melissa graduated in June of 2013 from YouthBuild Charter School of California's El Monte site at the San Gabriel Valley Conservation Corps.
Q: What initially brought you to YouthBuild Charter School of California?/ Why did you leave your previous high school and come to YouthBuild?
Melissa: I wasn't focused at El Monte High School. I suffered from suicidal ideation and I was smoking marijuana. So I came to SGVCC (San Gabriel Valley Conservation Corps.)
Q: What did you like most about your YouthBuild Charter School of California experience? 
Melissa: I loved that SGVCC was super flexible and understanding. They went above and beyond to connect with students. They were there for us every step of the way. When I started at SGVCC I had recently got out of the mental hospital, and they had the accommodations I needed.
Q: How did YouthBuild Charter School of California help prepare you for your future/college?
Melissa: They gave me an opportunity to continue my education. They gave me my diploma, but most importantly they understood my struggles.
Q: How did the YouthBuild Charter School of California teachers and SGVCC staff support you during your time with us?
Melissa: The staff at SGVCC helped me tremendously, especially Danny Oaxaca. They understood my mental illness and made sure I graduated. They went above and beyond, even taking us to Disneyland for Grad Night.
Q: What have you been up to since you graduated from YouthBuild Charter School of California?/ What did you study in college and what will you be studying in grad school?
Melissa: After I graduated, I became a mamma. Then I went back to school at Pasadena City College and I got my Associate's degree. Then I got accepted to UC Davis, but since I have children I couldn't attend, so I went to Cal State LA, where I got my Bachelor's in Psychology and now I'm attending USC to get my Master's in School Psychology!
Q: What inspired you to enter that field of study and what do you plan to do after you earn your degree?
Melissa: I want to enter a career as a psychologist because I know and understand mental illness. I want to be a good representation for the Latinx community and give back to my community. 
Q: Do you have any advice for our current students, especially those who are considering college?
Melissa: The advice I can give current students is keep going and don't get discouraged. It's not easy, but it's worth it. Keep going and do it for yourself! 
Q: Is there anything else you'd like to share about your YouthBuild or college experience? 
Melissa:  I just want to thank SGVCC for giving me a chance and working with me in getting my diploma! I can't thank this program enough! They are super flexible and understanding. They truly go above and beyond!
If you were inspired by Melissa's story and are interested in enrolling at our El Monte site the San Gabriel Valley Conservation Corps, click here.