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November 1, 2010


Peggy Cartwright
Director of Marketing and Public Relations

For Immediate Release


(Chino, CA) On Saturday, October 30, 2010, thirteen women at the California Institution for Women (CIW) earned Associate Degrees from Chaffey College. Over 100 people attended the ceremony including faculty, staff, guests, and a new cohort of Chaffey students. These women represent the third graduating class of the Chaffey College CIW program. The first graduating class completed the program in March 2008.

The program's focus follows that of the community college system, "Redeeming lives through education." Students in this program are selected by the CIW warden and representatives in the institution. Two of the graduates, who were released prior to the graduation ceremony, were able to return to receive their diploma with their classmates. Mary Ann Leigh earned an Associates Degree in liberal arts and aspires to open her own hair salon. Margo Johnson, who also earned an AA in Liberal arts, was released in August and is enrolled at another community college where she plans to earn a certification as a drug and alcohol counselor.

The class valedictorian, Theresa Torricellas, stated "Our success is your success!" She added that the Chaffey College is a community of people who really care. Torricellas shared with the audience that she came to the CIW with an 8th grade education and a GED; today, she is the valedictorian of her college graduating class. "We have created a new vision for ourselves and our minds have been stimulated," said Torricellas.

The Chaffey College CIW program began in 2005 through the vision of former Warden Dawn Davison, Chaffey College faculty Christine Flores, and administrators Dr. Sherrie Guerrero and Laura Hope. "This program has gone through its challenges, but persevered," said Laura Hope, dean of instructional support. "The winners are the students."

Dr. Henry Shannon, Chaffey College superintendent/president's keynote address was titled E3 or Education to the third power. "Through education our lives are centered on three Es: empowerment, enrichment, and economics. Education brings so many opportunities including empowerment and enrichment. The last E, economics, is the benefit education has on our community. He congratulated the graduates on their success; most of them graduated with honors earning a 3.3 to 4.0 GPA.

The CIW program has graduated 34 individuals; four graduates from the class of 2009 were paroled and two from this class have been paroled, as well as some of the tutors. None of the graduates from the Chaffey CIW program have reoffended. Chaffey College believes in giving back to each and every student by providing opportunities to succeed in school and in life. One of the tutors was recently hired as an apprentice at Chaffey College while she completes a master's program at a local university. She hopes one day to become a minister.

Join us in applauding these outstanding women and the people who make this program possible. Congratulations CIW graduates of the class of 2010.

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