LUSA president named ‘Woman of the Year’
Published: Wednesday, June 6, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, June 6, 2012 01:06
Seldom do our lives turn out the way we envision and often our life journey takes a detour, but it is our choice whether or not we make the best of the opportunities in front of us. On May 31, Thania Lucero’s “detour” reached a landmark when she received the 2012 Citrus College Woman of the Year award.
“When I came to Citrus I didn’t imagine I would be here today,” Lucero said. “I’m so humbled and it’s a great feeling to know that my hard work is appreciated.”
After graduating from Alhambra High School, Lucero, 22, was set to attend Whitworth University, a private liberal arts college in Washington, when financial problems prevented her from attending, leading her to Citrus College.
“My goal at Citrus was just to transfer as soon as possible,” she said. “Then I got involved and I fell in love with the community.”
Rather than simply being involved in the Citrus College community, Lucero is engrossed.
She holds a laundry list of credits to her name: President of the Latinos Unidos Student Association, member of the Helping Find Opportunities in the Pursuit of Education club, ASCC senator of the fall and spring 2010 semesters, honors program student, and student ambassador – all while maintaining a 3.35 grade point average and serving in her youth group at Saint Therese Catholic Church in Alhambra.
Lucero said trying to juggle all her activities with school work is as hard as it sounds and at many times she would get very little sleep.
“It is a matter of setting my priorities straight, knowing that school work was my first priority and letting everything else fall after,” she said.
The value of going to school and getting an education was seared into Lucero’s head by her mother, Ericka Gonzalez, who did not go to college and always tells her daughter “if I did I would have a better job and better quality of life.”
One of Gonzalez’s favorite memories of her daughter was the day she dropped her off at school for the first day of kindergarten.
“When I dropped her off I was crying because I was worried to leave her alone and Thania told me not to cry and worry because she wanted to be at school and learn,” Gonzalez said. “Usually it’s the other way around and the child is crying.”
Lucero’s value for education turned into a passion to help underprivileged students, especially Latino students, the opportunity to get a higher education and live better lives.
As the president of LUSA, student ambassador and a founding member of HOPE, she has been in prime position do so.
Dean of Students Martha McDonald, Ed.D., who watched Lucero evolve from a “shy, quiet girl into a confident, well-spoken woman,” recognizes the impact Lucero has had on Citrus College.
“She is one of the major contributors to bringing to light the needs and challenges of Latino students,” McDonald said. “She has been a champion for those minority students.”
With Lucero as president of LUSA, the club hosted their first “Noche de Cultura” where students were able to showcase their talents through various arts forms, increased club funds exponentially and incorporated more inter-club activity, Lucero said.
Lucero became a student ambassador for the opportunity to teach high school students the importance of obtaining a college education.
“I really enjoyed going to continuation schools and giving those students hope for the future by sharing with them the different options available after high school,” she said.
Along with the guidance of her mother, Lucero says her Catholic faith is what keeps her humble and gives her the desire to help others.
“I believe God gives us certain gifts that we are supposed to use to positively affect those around you, so I try to do that” she said.
Lucero will be attending the University of California, Los Angeles in the fall where she will major in political science. She then plans to attend grad school and become a political science instructor.
“With her being a political science major and having a strong compassion for people, she’s going to make a huge difference in this world,” said McDonald.
Whoever she becomes in the future, Lucero knows she will leave her mark on this world.
“I get motivation from knowing that someday I’m going be able to help people and make a difference….from knowing that I can touch someone’s life and be a role model,” she said.
The Woman of the Year has already left her mark on Citrus College, once a pit stop and now the place she calls home.
“I’m glad the way things turned out because I think I’ve enjoyed my time here at Citrus more than I would have at Washington or anywhere else,” she said.