From rescuing a horse stuck in a ditch somewhere around the Santa Clarita Valley to reporting the news in Denver, Colorado, four College of the Canyons (COC) alumni were recognized for their accomplishments and inducted into the COC Hall of Fame April 22.
K.U.S.A. Anchor in Denver, Colorado and former Cougar News reporter Jonathan Gonzalez was reading his emails when he received the news that he would be honored as a “Rising Star Alumni.”
“I feel like I don’t deserve it yet, but it’s the ‘rising star award’ and I’m very honored to be here today,” Gonzalez said.
Professor and present Media and Entertainment Arts Chair, Dave Brill, introduced Gonzalez and quoted him from a letter written to Brill just after his transfer from COC to California State University, Northridge.
“‘You saw something in me in the spring of 2010 that not even I believed I had before coming to Cougar News,’” Brill said. “I just knew the moment he picked up a microphone that Jonathan was destined for great things.”
The awards were allocated within three categories; Outstanding Alumni, Rising-Star Alumni and Outstanding Friends.
The chosen alumni represent the best of the College of the Canyons education, Development Coordinator Cindy Biehahn said. “Whether they gave back to the college or they gave back to their community.”
Doctor of veterinary medicine (DVM) and certified veterinary acupuncturist Dr. Rachael Ostrom Sachar works out of Santa Clarita Valley. In 2014, she helped “rescue a Tennessee walking horse that had fallen down a 300-foot ravine near Bear Divide,” Signal News reported.
“She is a poster child for community colleges, many of the people in this room are, she will admittedly tell you that her high school education wasn’t the greatest,” Mathematics, Engineering, Science and Achievement (MESA) Program Director Eric Lara said. “It took MESA, the social capital that we provide, the academic services that we provide, the tutoring that we have, for her to actually get that experience and gain the confidence and move on to the next level.”
Among those to congratulate the alumni inductees was Dana Levine, Associated Student Government president who acknowledged the work of campus faculty and staff.
“I’ve never seen so much collaboration in a single institution,” Lavine said. “Where all that effort goes into the success of the individual students.”
To find the full list of 2016 Canyons Alumni, click here.