Graduates Share Success Stories at ACC-Lynwood's Inspire Club Luncheon


The American Career College family just keeps getting bigger.

The Inspire Club at ACC-Lynwood now has more than 30 members and about 20 got together at the most recent meeting in July.

ACC-Lynwood Inspire Club

Maggie Baltierra
Sonya Collins
Noraida Delia
Joanne Delia
Mariana Diaz
Nancy Diaz
Ana Garcia
Juliana Garcia
Arika Gray
Soledad Guerrero
Sandra Gurrola
Ericka Gutierrez
Jennifer Hernandez
Crystal Herrera
Vanessa Herrera
Ingrid Ibarra
Ashley Isaac
Gabriela Lopez
Joseph Lopez
Jenny Mariscal
Darlene Mascorro
Emanuel Mazariegos
Ashley Orihuela
Britnee Palmer
Jennifer Ramirez
Catalina Renteria
Stephanie Sanchez
Erica Smith
Daniel Velasco

Norlean Cedeno, Student Resource Center manager; and Gabby Arzate, admissions manager at ACC-Lynwood, kicked off the meeting by going around the table and having everyone introduce themselves before lunch was served.

ACC-Lynwood Student Resource Center manager Bertha Mohamed then introduced the two speakers: ACC-Lynwood graduate Cherie Watkins, LVN and ACC-Long Beach graduate Barbara Boyd, CMT.

Watkins graduated with ACC-Lynwood's first vocational nursing program and is an in-home health care worker. This summer she took her family on a well-deserved vacation to New York and told the Inspire Club she was proud to be able to do it. But, she said, becoming a LVN had made a bigger impact on her family than just the financial gains.

"It not only changed me, but it changed everybody around me. My mom, when I started the program, wasn't working. And after I did it, she was like, 'I'm gonna do something too. I'm gonna go back to work.' So she did and she's happy," Watkins said. "Because also she felt like, you know, 'It's too late, I'm a grandma now. I can't do this -- my time's passed.' Your time hasn't passed, you just have to do it."

Right after Boyd enrolled in ACC-Long Beach's massage therapy program, her mother had to be hospitalized for two months.

"I wanted to give up. I didn't have anybody to watch my kids, I didn't have any child care set up and my cousins were watching my kids for two months," she told the Inspire Club. "I would only see them on the weekends but I just stuck with it."

Boyd said she reached out to the ACC-Long Beach administration and her teachers, and with their support ended up being on the honor roll, having perfect attendance and was a program ambassador. Recently, she passed her massage certification and was looking to starting her new career full-time.

"It pays off to keep going. It pays off. The money's going to be there, the support," Boyd said. "You'll have a new-found confidence and empowerment."

ACC-Lynwood Executive Director Lani Townsend said she always ended up in awe after Inspire Club meetings because of the stories students and graduates shared. 

"To hear the backstories and see the end result of all that hard work is truly just joyful and I'm grateful to get that opportunity every day," Townsend said. "But the reason that you're here is simply because you have touched someone else — you have reached out and inspired someone else to use healthcare as an opportunity to not just get a job but a career and open doors up that you never would have."

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