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ACC Alumni Spotlight: Leoncio Samala


Leoncio Samala went to great lengths to keep a promise.

Two years ago, Samala told his cohort that he would cut his hair when they completed the radiography program at American Career College-Ontario. On Feb. 9, he and his cohort received their pins and Samala kept his word.

As his classmates got out their cell phones to record the moment, Samala’s hair was carefully pulled back and weaved into a long ponytail. Then, the scissors made quick work of the thick, foot-long braid. Afterwards, Samala held onto the lock, and reflected on what had just happened.

“My friend here, Mr. Ponytail, he's been with me for two years. Two-year program right here. No stress. You see that?,” he said, laughing and pointing at his ponytail. “No white hairs.”


What’s going on today?

I have no more hair. Two years, two years of hard work. Now it's all gone. All my hard work is gone. Now I'm about to move on to my next life. I feel really relieved. After I take my test, after this graduation, walking across that stage. It’s gonna be real, making real money, contributing to society.

What’s next for your hair?

This is actually going to Michigan as a donation to child cancer patients. So after all of this, I have to take it to FedEx.

How was the radiography technology program?

It's really hard, but it's really worth it. Just try to keep studying, work hard and you'll get where I am.

What do you want to do as a radiography technician?

I want to do radiation therapy. I want to work at City of Hope. I applied there for their one-year program but it's just little steps at a time. Pass the tests, apply, wait for your certification, then move on. I was always interested in solar radiation, solar panels, but I actually like to work with patients and do patient care, so instead of just working with technology we just combined both and we got a rad tech (points at himself) — right here.

What’s the best part of your field?

Helping other people in a short amount of time. You got them and you're taking care of them, but they don't know if they're broken or not — and you just help them right away and can say ‘This is what’s wrong with you.’

What advice do you have for new students?

I would say make friends with everyone in class. You guys are doing it together. Try not to go through a program by yourself. It's too hard for that. You have to do it with the people that actually know what you're going through. If you work as a group, you guys are gonna pass. It's very difficult doing it as an individual.

Any final hair advice?

Conditioner, three times a week. Don't blow dry your hair. Let it air dry and it's gonna be nice and smooth, as you can see (laughing).

ACC cannot guarantee employment. Programs vary by campus. The views and opinions expressed are those of the individuals and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs or position of the school or of any instructor or student. For graduation rates, median debt of graduates completing this program and other important information, visit

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