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Student Support Services Honors Students, Staff, Faculty

Anytime is a great time to recognize the efforts of hard working, dedicated and supportive students. But it's extra special when the academic year concludes, graduation is nearing and the dream of obtaining a college degree is ready to be fulfilled.

SSS Banquet 2018

It was a palpable feeling throughout the 2018 celebration for the Institute of College Initiatives' TRIO Student Support Services (SSS) 10th annual Recognition Ceremony May 15 in the Hahn University Center Forums at the University of San Diego.

SSS is an academic program whose mission is to provide holistic support to students who identify with one of the following: they are first-generation college students, students who come from low-income families, underrepresented groups and those who have a documented disability.

"The support we provide for our students goes beyond the academic realm," SSS Director Ryan Jumamil said. "We are advocates, emotional supporters, life coaches and, most importantly, provide honestly to all of our students."

Students, staff, faculty, administrators, families and friends were present to honor members of the SSS family, most notably those in the Class of 2018, but the nearly three-hour program was a showcase of great work, talented performances, perseverance and a whole lot of love and admiration.

Entertainment during the program was provided in song by Khea Pollard, a USD undergraduate alumna who will graduate with a master's degree through the School of Leadership and Education Sciences this month, as well as Elvina Adams' Cadre Vibes Dance Group. Master of ceremony duties were handled by Antonio Zamora and Deja Butler.

Much of the program was devoted to awards for the SSS contingent.

A new award was introduced first. The SSS Impact Award, according to Jumamil, is given to departments/units on campus that have made a significant impact on the SSS Family. This year's inaugural winners were USD's One Stop Center and the Office of Financial Aid.

End of Year SSS Awards went to: Tiffany Truong, Student Representative of the Year; Alicia Reyes, Most Inspirational SSS Mentor; Nadine Achkar, Most Inspirational SSS Student; Dr. Candice Price, Mathematics Professor, Most Inspirational Professor; Brandon Kennedy, Most Inspirational Tutor; Earl Passion and Shanel Hill, SSS Fearless Award; Will Tate and Osvaldo Miramontes, SSS Legacy Award; Kevin Do and Debby Romero, TRIO Service Award; Ben Friedl and Erick Perez, SSS Outstanding Senior Award.

SSS also presented participation awards for a freshman, sophomore, junior and senior student. It's a requirement for all students to do at least 15 hours (utilizing SSS resources from tutoring and computer use to field trips and workshops), but these awards went to students who are devoted the most to SSS. The recipients are: Eric Ricks, freshman, 99.86 hours; Alicia Reyes, sophomore, 403 hours; Raul Villar, junior, 91.7 hours; and Eric Saldivar, senior, 102 hours.

A surprise bonus was having SSS staff members — Ophelia Augustine, Pilar Malim, Ariela Canizal and Yajaira Peraza-Nunez — present Jumamil with a special Spirit of Leadership Award.

Vice President and Provost Dr. Gail Baker gave a keynote address focused on traits she learned from her father that still shape her approach to life on a daily basis.

The night ended with the presentation of graduation stoles, certificates and individual and group photos of members of SSS' Class of 2018.

— Ryan T. Blystone