Sonoma State senior John Michael Vincent Coralde has been selected for the Trustees’ Award for Outstanding Achievement. Coming from a difficult past, such as living in poverty in the Philippines, this award goes far beyond outstanding achievement for Coralde.
“I always think it’s a dream because where I am from it’s one in a billion. I never thought it would be me,” said Coralde.
Coralde and his eight siblings grew up in the Phillipines until Colarde was 14 and he received an opportunity to move to the United States.
“When I was in the Philippines we weren’t that privileged, it would take probably an hour to go to school every day,” said Coralde.
Yet moving to the U.S. did come with some hardships that Coralde had to overcome, such as learning how to speak English and adjusting to American lifestyles.
“I was last in every single activity because no one could understand me, or found me cool. But it did not stop me because I knew how hard life could be back home,” said Coralde.
To work on his English, Coralde used to ask random people on the street or professors to engage in English conversation.
“Eighty percent said no, and 20 percent said yes,” said Coralde.
Being the first one in his family to attend a university, Coralde takes on many added responsibilities, such as supporting his family and himself. As well as working three jobs and being on the Dean’s list, Coralde is very active and involved when it comes to on-campus related positions, such as being a Community Services Advisor and a Summer Orientation leader.
“All this has helped me get the best education, the university has helped me face a lot,” said Coralde.
Coralde’s dreams and ambitions only get bigger after he graduates in the spring of 2014. He plans to go to graduate school and obtain a dual-masters degree in public health and epidemiology.
“I want to obtain those degrees so I could work and then go back to the Philippines and help my community there. Growing up we didn’t have any medical assistance, so that way I could have the education for when I go back, I can help children who were in my place,” said Coralde.
Students who know Coralde agree that he is not only motivated, but also has a spirit about him that does not go unnoticed.
“John sees things in a different light and isn’t afraid to be who he is. He made me feel comfortable and I know that he always cared about every person on the Summer O team,” said Kate Bowdle, who worked with Coralde for two summers as a summer orientation leader.
The Trustees’ Award is for students who demonstrate high academic performance. It is an honor, and a scholarship such as this is how Coralde is able to live out his dreams and continue his success as an SSU student.
“I thought it was an April fool’s joke,” said Colarde. “It makes me speechless. I know how grand this award is, and I always tell myself; sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our life. Without struggles, you won’t be the person you are today.”
“Life is not Burger King, you cannot always have it your way, we should be more like McDonalds and love it, or Nike and just do it,” said Coralde.
Coralde will be accepting the Trustees’ Award at CSU Long Beach. Coralde will also receive $4,200 in scholarship money as an Haworth Family Trust Scholar.