Graduates of Eastfield: A highlight of outgoing harvesters

President Eddie Tealer shakes hands with a graduate at the 2019 graduation at the Curtis Culwell Center. Plans have been announced to hold in-person graduations for the class of 2021. Et Cetera File Photo

Copy editor Andrew Walter found three graduates who have left a mark on their college and community. Here’s what they had to say about their Eastfield experience.

— Compiled by Andrew Walter

Michelle Johnson, 46
Substance Abuse Counseling Major
Photo by Yesenia Alvarado/The Et Cetera

“Last year, in commemoration of my time at Eastfield, I got a bee tattoo on my forearm similar to the Harvester mascot. I feel like it represents a lot of things. Bees work hard; they persevere.

I’m in the substance abuse program and I’m in recovery. Our No. 1 thing is to carry the message. I see it like a bee carrying pollen and preserving nature. My associate degree is one of the first things I’ve completed.

I’m an ex-addict, so my life has been quite turbulent at times. I began at El Centro when I first got out of treatment. Eastfield is the only DCCCD school that offers a substance abuse counseling degree.

Rhonda Goldberg was in the same program of study I was, and we got really close in 2017. She joined the Human Service Club and every other club I joined. We started a collegiate recovery program.

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She was always there supporting me. She had the same passion about spreading the message of recovery. She was registered at Texas A&M before she passed away of a heart attack. She was sober, and married to the love of her life, Marcus Goldberg. She was surrounded by people who loved her.

The impact she made in the recovery community was immeasurable. I gave two of my tickets to graduation to Rhonda’s family. Just don’t give up. It gets difficult trying to juggle everything, but finish your degree plan. I’m glad that I kept going, and I plan to keep going.”

Diana Tezock, 26
Pharmaceutical Studies Major
Photo by Yesenia Alvarado/The Et Cetera

“My sister Durene and I both influenced each other very positively. She didn’t want to go to community college because she thought it was inferior to a university, and she wanted to go far away to become independent.

I convinced her that Eastfield was a good choice because it was close to home and she could be comfortable. She influenced me by encouraging me to become more involved. She started the Plant-Based Nutrition Club.

She won Student Leader of the Year last year, and I applied the next year. I didn’t think I could win Student Leader of the Year, but when she won, that’s how I too knew I could win.”

Benjamin Strittmatter, 20
Associate of Applied Science and Honda Certifications
Photo by Andrew Walter/The Et Cetera

“[My friends and I] stay at the Motel 6 on Monday nights right off Jim Miller Road instead of driving back and forth to Saginaw. We’d carpool. We’d take turns driving each week.

It’s like a $65 hotel, and we split it three ways. We’ve been doing that every Monday for two years.

All the hard work pays off, and you may not see it right now, but you’ll definitely see it in your field, in your workplace when you’re working on cars.”

Driven to graduate: 3 students stay at motel, work full-time in automotive industry


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