Class of 2019

A bittersweet farewell to students leaving their legacy in the soul of the journalism program


As the semester nears to an end, many get ready for graduation and therefore a new chapter in their lives. We see students all around campus with a smirk of anticipation in their faces and excitement for the future. It is undeniable that even though many students come, grow and go through the halls of GCC, there are those that leave their footprints, even after they’ve left. Just like that, big and small legacies are created, and memories cherished.

Every year, El Vaquero gives an insight on a specific person or group, that is leaving the Vaquero family. Last year, we wrote about the “Graduating Moms of GCC,” where the article featured three immigrant mothers who were full-time students at the college, all the while balancing familial relationships, embracing motherhood and making the best of their experience at Glendale College.

This time around, we decided to show the graduating faces behind El Vaquero. They’re the students often in the newsroom close to midnight, the students that try to bring justice to the issues on campus, whether they’re as little as parking issues, or as big as budgets, funding and homelessness. As this ‘wave’ of El Vaquero journalists move on to bigger and definitely better things in their educational and professional lives, they leave legacies that will live on for years to come. Here are some of our graduating faces:

Samantha “Sam” Decker: Features Editor

Sam is from Michigan, and has been studying at GCC since spring of 2016. She didn’t realize her passion for writing until people noticed her talent. She will be transferring to California State University,

Northridge in the fall and will major in mass communications. Her career goals include doing copywriting, writing commercial scripts and eventually being in the position of a creative director. She is also aiming to write a Super Bowl ad (so look out for her name as it will be up there someday). Being in the newsroom has given Samantha a place where she was able to slow down and enjoy figuring out her passions and talents in full. She says that this was her favorite experience at the college.

Words of Wisdom: “Even if you don’t know what it is that you want right now, it’s okay to take time. But once you do figure it out, keep on going.The pain is only temporary.” (laughs)

Gabby Duga: Staff Writer

Gabby was born in Bacoor, Philippines and moved to the United States in 2008. He has been studying at Glendale College for three years now, and is majoring in history. For the upcoming fall, he will be transferring to Cal State L.A., and in the future wants to work with education as an instructor. He will eventually work in the political arena. He says that the best moments spent at GCC were those he spent with his friends in his Korean and math classes. He also enjoyed being part of the El Vaquero newspaper.

Words of Wisdom: “Always be on top of all things. Have a fighting spirit.”

Allazhar Duisenbek: Staff Writer

Allazhar is an international studentfrom Kazakhstan, and started his program with GCC in the fall of 2017. He is majoring in journalism and would like to work in this field before becoming a writer like his grandfather. So far he’s been accepted to Oxford Brookes University and Westminster, but is waiting to hear back from the University of London. His ultimate goal as a journalist, is to work on documentaries for BBC. Allazhar says that his favorite part of being at GCC has been the ability to explore many of his passions, some of which are music and art.

Words of Wisdom: “It doesn’t matter how long it takes, everybody has their own time frame, and you get what you want at the right time.”

Tobias “Toby” Graves-Morris: Graphic Designer

Toby was born in the countryside of England, and came to GCC in the fall of 2016. Initially majoring in business, Toby soon realized that his passion was to create conceptual designs and to write, shortly after which, he changed his major to journalism. In the fall, he will transfer to San Diego State University, and hopes to work in advertising and graphic design for major magazines and social media platforms. He also sees himself doing video and photo advertising campaigns. Toby says that some of the most exciting times at Glendale College for him, has been getting good grades and being recognized for it. He says “it feels really rewarding, because I’ve put a lot of effort into my classes.”

Words of Wisdom: “Stay active in your school email. Stay social in your classes, and different communities,” because people will help whenever help is needed.

James Ojano-Simonsson: Production Manager

James arrived to GCC in the gall of 2016 from Sweden as an international student. His major here is journalism, but he holds a deep passion for marine biology. His other interests include film and photography, which also happen to be his minors. His goal after graduating from GCC is to apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT), a program where international students with the F-1 visa are allowed to work for one year in a practical training related to their major.

He hopes to get a job in the film industry, or to work with sea creatures and document them. In the long term, James would like to work with National Geographic, Animal Planet, 4Ocean or any environment organization that seeks to protect and preserve the planet and its living creatures. He holds many good experiences in the school, such as getting to know incredible people, and being challenged enough to grow within these past three years.

Words of Wisdom: “Work hard, and keep challenging yourself, but also enjoy your time while being at GCC. Attend club meetings, events, and try to make new friends and contacts.”

Saryana Nazarian- Entertainment Reporter

Saryana was born in Iran but moved to the United States at 12. She started studying at GCC in 2016, while also taking classes to finish high school. Her initial goal was to major in deaf studies to become an interpreter, but after taking a couple of assessments at the career center she decided to volunteer and intern in different places to find out her true interests and passions. After getting an internship at a radio station, Saryana realized that she belongs in the entertainment industry.

In the fall, she will transfer to Cal State L.A., where she will major in communications and journalism. Her long term goal is to work at big radio stations like iHeart Radio or Power 106, where she interned. One of her favorite moments at the college was when she had the chance develop her broadcast skills- learning new things every time and getting to know her classmates in the process.

Words of Wisdom: “If you’re having a hard time choosing a major, take advantage of the school resources. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.”

Marian Sahakyan: Editor-in-Chief

Marian was born in Armenia and moved to the United States at the age of 13. She has been studying at Glendale College for the last two years and says that “it’s been an amazing ride.” To complete her degree in journalism, Marian will be transferring to Long Beach State university. Her career goal is to get a full- time position at the Los Angeles Times or other major newspapers. Although her overall experience at GCC has been wonderful, the highlight was definitely being part of El Vaquero, where she had the biggest learning experience of her life.

Words of Wisdom: “Take all chances, the crappy ones, too. Never say ‘no’ to an opportunity. Put your all into whatever it is that you’re doing.. And most importantly, trust the process.”

Eisho Shiroma: Staff Writer

Eisho is an international student from Okinawa, Japan. He came to GCC in fall of 2016 and majors in mass communications. After graduating from GCC, he plans to go back home and apply for a job in the TV production field, preferably in Tokyo. His plan on becoming a producer is initially gaining experience in the area, but also returning to the United States to build up more for his career path. When asked about which favorite memory he will always take with him from GCC, Shiroma replied “being here in this class because people are really kind. As an international student I was always nervous to take classes, but people really helped me.”

Words of Wisdom: “Show who you are, and work hard for what you want to do, especially Japanese students who tend to be really quiet. They should be more ‘aggressive’’s important to speak up.”

Aside from the few that were featured, El Vaquero will be losing other members of its team, such as Tyler Greene (Broadcast Reporter), Matthew Spencer (Illustrator), Hayk Martirosyan (Opinion Editor), Hayk Rostomyan(SeniorProductionManager) and Lilit Sedrakyan (Staff Writer).

Soon the newsroom will be ready to watch a brilliant group of students walking out to form the new chapter in their lives. Meanwhile a new group of inspiring young professionals will walk in through those very doors. After all, that’s how it works, right?

As each of our soon-to-be graduates take the path of their own, they will leave behind hard work, memories and a sense of community. To them, it’s not just about the lecture, but about the opportunity to grow as students and professionals.