SSS Banquet Celebrates, Delivers Student Success

SSS Banquet Celebrates, Delivers Student Success

One of the best opportunities to celebrate University of San Diego students and their achievements arrives in May when TRiO’s Student Support Services hosts its annual end-of-year banquet in the Hahn University Center Forums.

SSS Banquet 2019

Thursday night, on the eve of USD’s undergraduate final exam schedule, a full room of graduating students, younger students, supportive family, friends, staff, faculty and administrators, the 11th annual SSS banquet delivered good cheer, inspiring stories, awards, entertainment and a parade of graduation stoles signaling commencement for the class of 2019 is just around the corner.

The night, ably hosted by Antonio Zamora and Miranda Gonzalez, produced an opening song by Gonzalez, a rap/spoken word performance by Zamora and a welcome address from SSS Director Ryan Jumamil.

Awards were handed out throughout the evening. The first major honor, the SSS Impact Award, goes to a department on campus that has "significantly gone above and beyond” to help the SSS student population. Jumamil awarded this year's honor to the Career Development Center.

More impact came in honoring six USD professors who serve as Summer Bridge teachers in late August to help new students acclimate to college. The six, Odesma Dalrymple (Engineering), Aarti Ivanic (Business), Mitzi Smith (Theatre), Mike Williams (Political Science and International Relations), Candice Price (Mathematics) and Amanda Ruiz (Mathematics), were celebrated.

Participation awards for students dedicated to attending SSS events, working with other SSS students and more, were given to a top student in each year. The freshman winner, with 222 hours, was Jennifer Esse; the sophomore recipient was Andres Rivera with 444 hours; the junior honor went to Alicia Reyes with 316 hours; and seniors Ashley Oudorn and Genesis Lopez, with 194 and 193 hours respectively, were co-winners.

The banquet turned to Miranda Gonzalez, who sang a stirring rendition of Queen's "Somebody to Love."

A series of special awards were handed out next.

The inspirational tutor of the year was Sharon Shania, who was feted after each fellow tutor received a certificate for their work with SSS students. The other tutors were Julio Alfaro, Christian Carmona, Jordan Golden, Brandon Kennedy, Minh Mai, Tatiana Mancham, Jordan Matuszewski and Lindsay O'Boyle.  

Inspirational Mentor of the Year went to Anais Rivera. The Inspirational SSSer Award went to Fanisee Bias. The Student Representative of the Year Award winner was Rhiana McCarty. The Inspirational Professor Award went to Mitzi Smith, a theatre professor for the last 6 1/2 years at USD. Smith, who is a professional actress and has performed in theatres throughout San Diego County, went from accepting the award right into her designation as the SSS banquet's keynote speaker.

The final awards went to graduating seniors: Angelica Ignacio and Diana Villa-Galindo (SSS Outstanding Seniors); Kashannah Manawis and Miriam Adam (SSS Fearless Awards); Edith Velasco and Elisenda Guerra-Delgado (TRiO Service Awards); and Susan Cruz (SSS Legacy Award).

Another entertainment entity came onto the stage as the LT3 Dance Crew electrified the crowd with a fun performance. A video then played in which SSS graduating students thanked SSS staff for their guidance and support and to express their future plans and the positive impact of being part of SSS.

The SSS banquet program, which listed 87 SSS student graduates, provided each with a graduation stole and brought the entire group back on stage for group photos.

The evening, which included a wonderful dinner and a specially built photo booth for attendees to take fun individual and group shots, was a great way for students to destress a bit and have some fun.

Be sure to check out the SSS office, which in 2018-19 moved its headquarters from Barcelona 301 on the far west side of campus to the main part, Hahn University Center Room 113.

— Ryan T. Blystone

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