VVC celebrates 23 graduates of Corrections Academy


Story by Brian Woods

Victor Valley College recently celebrated the graduation of the 70th session Corrections Core Academy program.

The Standards and Training for Corrections (STC) module provided a platform for 23 graduates to complete the 16-week program, held at the VVC Regional Public Safety Training Center in Apple Valley.

Communication, integrity and self-discipline were among the recurring themes of the night,  with an intimate crowd of faculty, family, and friends attending in support. 

The opening statement was given by Administration of Justice Director Rand Padgett, with an inspiring invocation by class Assisting Officer Mariah Treto. A moment of silence ensued to pay respect to fallen law enforcement entities, and the introduction of the Session #70 class began thereafter. 

Class speaker Arick Luna filled the venue with a hopeful message of insight and growth.

“Looking back, it’s the small details we will all take with us from this day forward,” Luna said. “Integrity begins with the smallest amount of effort… a symbolic representation of who we are becoming.”

Luna continued to say that the values he and his peers gained through the program can be applied to any future trials they face.

“Although this course has come to an end, we must take our experiences and the applications of self-defence, integrity, communication, and self-discipline,” he said.

Guest speaker Shannon Dicus, Undersheriff for the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, also delivered a powerful speech on the importance of youth in Corrections’ careers.

“I left the graduation inspired. The young people in the graduating class were focused on their career choices, and it was evident by the ceremony that they are well on their way,” Dicus said. “VVC is doing its part by providing this essential training to area youth…To say I left inspired isn’t enough — I feel taller after spending time with the graduates. We are in good hands.”

The STC Core Academy prepares students for an established and fulfilling career in criminal justice, as a city or county corrections officer, and more. Visit to learn more about the VVC Corrections Academy.


VVC hosts adult education graduation commencement

About 240 graduates out of 470 participated in the 2019 Victor Valley Adult Education Regional Consortium commencement ceremony. (Fabian Guillen)

During the only event of its kind in the High Desert, hundreds of adult education graduates from local high school districts were honored with a collective ceremony at Victor Valley College on Friday.

The second annual commencement of the Victor Valley Adult Education Regional Consortium included about 240 participating students of the 470 who graduated from Apple Valley Unified, Hesperia Unified, Snowline Joint Unified and Victor Valley Union High school districts.

Following the Presentation of Colors from the Victor Valley High School Air Force Junior ROTC, VVC Executive Vice President Dr. Peter Maphumulo recognized the graduates.

grad caps
About 240 graduates out of 470 participated in the 2019 Victor Valley Adult Education Regional Consortium commencement ceremony. (Fabian Guillen)

“In making the decision to complete your high school diploma or equivalency, you have opened up doors to a whole world of opportunities,” Maphumulo said. “Many of our students are transitioning to Victor Valley College to attain a certificate or associate degree.”

Hesperia Career & Adult Education Center graduate Jessica Ontiveros-Becerra is one such student who is currently enrolled at VVC, taking the first steps toward her childhood dream of becoming a registered nurse.

“To my fellow graduates: I feel an overwhelming amount of pride resonating from every one of you,” Ontiveros-Becerra said. “School offered us the second chance we needed. They treated us with respect and kindness … They wanted me to succeed, they wanted you to succeed.”

Maphumulo asked all the graduates enrolled in community college to stand to be acknowledged, along with those who’ve gotten a job as a result of the program, those who became U.S. citizens while enrolled, and those who are parents and/or grandparents.

Johnny Holguin, a Victor Valley Adult Education graduate, shared part of his story with the crowd, explaining that he is a single father raising two daughters while working full-time and studying at Barstow Community College.

“Today we all gather together here because of a common choice we all made to finish what we started,” Holguin said. “I’ve watched young mothers study with a book in one hand and a baby in the other, young men with a gleam in their eye knowing that this is their first step into a larger world, and men and women who, like me, made a life-changing decision to get this done and better themselves.”

Another graduating parent, Angel Almanza, attended Apple Valley Adult School along with his wife, one of three married couples to participate in this year’s commencement.

Rather than a typical quote from a historical figure, Almanza chose to share a poem written by his brother, Peter, which began: “Forget about the days when it’s been cloudy, but don’t forget about the hours in the sun. Forget about the times you’ve been defeated, but don’t forget about the victories you have won.”

“Graduation is not an end goal in itself — it is instead a part of a larger journey in our life,” Almanza said. “Wherever your future takes you, let it take you somewhere.”

There were also three sets of brother and sister siblings among the graduates this year, including Hugo Rosales, who said his younger sister was a major inspiration to him as he attended Apple Valley Adult School with her.

“For years, our way of everyday life is just work, work, work,” Rosales said. “Now it’s time to stop this traditional way and take initiative in challenging ourselves and making a decision to do the most important thing in life: To get an education.”

Commencement speaker Senator Scott Wilk shared a few more interesting facts about the Class of 2019, including that among them were two cancer survivors, one blind student, and one deaf student. The oldest graduate, he said, was 83 years old.

scott wilk
Senator Scott Wilk gives a commencement speech during the 2019 Victor Valley Adult Education Regional Consortium graduation ceremony. (Fabian Guillen)

Wilk, 60, also shared his own story about coming to his desired career later in life, despite it being discouraged by others along the way.

“Having heard the stories from the graduates, we already know that today’s achievements came because of your discipline, your commitment, and frankly, your courage,” Wilk said. “I encourage you to pursue life with purpose, passion, and perseverance. It’s never too late to press on.”

Victor Valley College celebrates 27 nursing graduates at pinning ceremony

VICTORVILLE — Twenty-seven Victor Valley College nursing graduates participated in a pinning and candlelight ceremony to celebrate their completion of one of the nation’s most elite nursing programs.

The ceremony was held at High Desert Church in December to honor the nursing class of Fall 2018. Dressed in traditional white uniforms, the future registered nurses each recited the International Nursing Pledge.

The first line of the pledge reads: “I promise to care for the sick with all the skill and understanding I possess, without regard to race, creed, colour, politics or social status, sparing no effort to conserve life, to alleviate suffering and to promote health.”

VVC Nursing Program Assistant Director Renate Longoria explained that the ceremony symbolizes the end of the many challenges that the students overcame throughout the semesters of the program.
“They all showed growth and became stronger as we, their instructors, watched their journey,” Longoria said. “The knowledge they gained not only made them able to become Registered Nurses, but it also made them more confident individuals to be successful in their chosen professional careers.”

Longoria introduced various notable figures present at the ceremony, including the VVC Board of Trustees and VVC Vice President of Instruction & Student Services Dr. Peter Maphumulo, and thanked the family and friends of the graduates for their continued support.

Veronica Williams, president of the California Nursing Students’ Association (CNSA) for the class, recognized the cabinet members of CNSA and shared some highlights of the program.

“This semester we collaborated with local organizations in handing out food and providing preventative healthcare to those in need, as well as donations of warm clothing to give to the elderly in assisted living homes,” she said.

Williams also introduced instructor Diana Sisk, who was honored with the Fall 2018 “Make a Difference” award.

“As a class we voted on one staff member who we felt helped each of us make it through the program,” Williams said. “Before each exam, (Diana) would see us with our panicked faces and always offer words of encouragement. We are truly grateful for your kind words, positivity and support.”

Class of Fall 2018 President Maile Martinez also spoke before her peers, sharing some of her favorite memories from the program as well as the challenges faced throughout.

“Tonight’s pinning ceremony is an endcap to our nursing student academic career and a hallmark to our full-fledge oath as future nurses to our community,” Martinez said. “As the future nurses of our community, we would like to take this time and recognize with grateful hearts the people in our lives who have helped us achieve our success in leading up to tonight’s event.”

Student Achievement awards went to four graduates with the highest grade point averages: Sarah Elizabeth Moya, Kelly Dowland, Veronica Williams, and Angela Sara Milberger.

Clinical Excellence awards went to Frankie Gullart for psychology, Rebecca Kristina Parker for pediatrics, Maile E. Martinez for obstetrics and gynecology, Roman Petrovich Litvin for medical surgery, and Kelly Dowland for advanced medical surgery. The Spirit of Nursing award went to Emma Rae Hill, while the Community Service award went to Nicolle Ann-Wick.
VVC’s nursing program is among the nation’s most elite. In California, it is ranked among the top 5 programs by several surveys, including, which ranks it as No. 4 and praises it for producing graduates who are “ready to work.”

The entire graduating class of Fall 2018 is as follows: Jannete Acevedo, Eden Cabingatan, Doris CalderOn, Anna Castillo, Kelly Dowland, Christina Duarte, Lyndsey Nicole Easley, Amanda Marie Eldridge, Frankie Gullart, Ethan, Patrick Hamel, Emma Rae Hill, Heidy Jaimes, Chelsea Maxine Jenkins, Bryan James Kennedy, Kamra Michelle Leontas, Roman Petrovich Litvin, Maile E. Martinez, Angela Sara Milberger, Sara Elizabeth Moya, Valerie E. Muro, Rebecca Kristina Parker, Veronica Barba Salgado, Jordan Marie Self, Mitsy Weigle, Nicolle Ann Wick, Veronica Williams, La Tonya Woodson.

CONTACT: Robert A. Sewell, Director of Marketing and Public Relations | Victor Valley College

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CONTACT: Charity Lindsey – (760) 245-4271 ext. 2619;