Alumni Success Stories
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Crafton Student turned Yale Student

Kaylia Carroll

Kaylia Carroll

Kaylia Carroll grew up with parents who struggled with substance abuse and housing instability, which led to her experiencing homelessness. After connecting with YouthHope, a local non-profit organization the supports homeless youth, Kaylia was able to enroll at a local continuation high school and receive a diploma. She continued her education at Crafton Hills College. Among her early classes was a philosophy class that she loved, and which started her thinking critically about issues she herself had faced and wanted to advocate for: unhoused populations, LGBTQ populations, and those who use substances.

Kaylia's Story

Crafton gave him a new chance!

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Jamie Robards

Jamie Robards knows hardship well. The Crafton alum was born prematurely, which left him with physical and cognitive disabilities throughout his childhood. His parents left him to be raised by his grandparents. The combination of so many struggles early on left him feeling inadequate, and he struggled in school. Demoralized, Robards dropped out of high school before he was able to earn a diploma.

Jamie's Story

One of Our Very First Paramedics!

Michael Peel

Michael Peel

As a provider of EMS transportation, he knew that the emergency medical field was where he wanted to be. He became an EMT the following year and decided his next goal was to become a firefighter/paramedic. To accomplish his goal, he enrolled in the very first paramedic class Crafton Hills College offered in 1977.

Michael's Story

Crafton Broadened Her Horizons!

Julia Gayheart

Julia Gayheart
Degrees in History (AA, AA-T), Spanish (AA), and Social Science (AA)

During her time at Crafton, Gayheart was able to pursue a variety of interests and classes that she had not considered before. She had an opportunity to participate in the honors program and enjoyed being a part of that community.

Julia's Story

Crafton inspired him to continue his education!

David Gerhartz

David Gerhartz
AS Psychology, class of 2016

The beautiful location in the Yucaipa hills is what drew Gerhartz to CHC. “Being in such a beautiful area and campus made learning more enjoyable. I had attended San Bernardino Valley College in the 80s after high school but finished my education and graduated from Crafton Hills College 30 years later.

David's Story

Crafton gave her a new outlook on life!

Lauren Petta

Lauren Petta
AS Health Sciences, AS Multiple Sciences, AA Social Science

Petta believes that CHC can have a meaningful and lasting impact on the community. “I know that my husband and I have been successful in our respective fields due to the CHC instructors who pour their hearts into their students and have their best interests at heart.” Petta adds, “I think the community of Yucaipa is fortunate to have such a lovely campus where students can grow and learn how to develop their professional careers.”

Lauren's Story

Prepared for success as a graduate student and a specialist in the nursing field

Amanda Edwards

Amanda Edwards
Class of 2013 AS Health Sciences and Multiple Sciences

As a first-generation college student, Amanda Edwards feels blessed to have earned her associate degree from CHC in the spring of 2013. “God put me in the right place at the right time. I had just moved to Yucaipa and Crafton was the local community college available to me. I was blessed,” Edwards stated.

Amanda's Story

Took inspiration from his Professors

Michael Hackett

Michael Hackett
Class of 2020, AS Computer Science

About a month before his death, Frank selected me as the 2020 computer science student of the year. He saw something in me that I did not see in myself. He encouraged me to continue my education when I was considering stopping after Crafton and entering law enforcement. Now, not only will I be starting my junior year at CSU Monterey Bay in the Spring, but I also have plans to eventually become a mathematics or computer science teacher. Frank inspired me to alter the course of my life, and I hope that I can do the same for my future students. If I had not transferred to Crafton Hills College, I would not have become who I am today.

Michael's Story

Crafton helped him grow!

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George Diab
Class of 2014, AS Political Science and Social Science

I moved to the United States from Syria when I was fifteen years old. I started my educational journey as a Sophomore at Redlands High School. I did very well considering my English skills and the whole transition to a totally different country. I graduated in 2011 with a relatively good GPA and strong language skills. However, even by the time I graduated, I had little understanding of the university and college systems in California. I knew that students typically transfer to 4-year universities immediately after high school while others attend community college. But the application process and requirements of the numerous universities were all too confusing for me as they were really different from the educational system in Syria.

George's Story

Learned to be a “Student of Life”

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Clarissa Barra

I’ve earned an AA in Mathematics from Crafton in 2018, four years after I’ve earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from UC Riverside in 2014. I once thought that the most stable path to success was just to go to college, get good grades, earn a degree, then get a job. I later realized that my path in life would be constantly changing, and that you sometimes find what you’re meant to do later in life. I came to Crafton after hitting a low point in life, I felt I just needed to be here. Despite having academically achieved a BA at a 4-year, it was my time at Crafton where I achieved a sense of self-confidence and fully embraced who I am and did I love.

Clarissa's Story

Keep Pushing Forward

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Rachelle Bone-Balander
Class of 2009, AA Liberal Studies

The professors helped me gain confidence in myself as a student, I was exposed to many areas which helped me figure out what I wanted in a career and although working full time I still was able to have that college experience I strived for. After three years at Crafton I received my Associate in Liberal Arts degree and finally had the confidence and motivation to move on to a four year college to finish my Bachelors.

"Crafton ended up being one of the best decisions I made for myself in my teenage years."

Rachelle's Story

The Opportunity to Reinvent Herself

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Madeline Alsop
CHC Class of 2020 Major: English/Pre-law

CHC has improved my life in multiple ways. CHC gave me the opportunity to reinvent myself after quitting a sport that I had Olympic hopes for. The school turned my life around completely. I went from feeling like a lost, confused, and failing athlete to someone with more purpose and more attributes and skills other than a sport. I rediscovered things about myself that I had forgotten about over my competitive years and I feel more complete and content because of it.

"CHC gave me the opportunity to reinvent myself after quitting a sport that I had Olympic hopes for."

Madeline's Story

Connected to Peers and Advisors

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Lorin Costello
Class of 2019, AS Communications

As I prepared to graduate high school in 2017, I was starting to feel the pressure to attend a 4-year university. I was rejected from two of my dream Universities and waitlisted for the third. At the time it was a hard pill to swallow, but little did I know it would lead me to a gem that is Crafton Hills College.

Lorin's Story

Crafton Gave Her Something to Be Proud Of

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Brooke Blake
Class of 2019, AS Social Science and Sociology

I started my journey at Crafton Hills College when I was Twenty-Four years old. I was at a point in my life where I was going nowhere, and college was the only option left. Starting Crafton, I had zero confidence and I didn’t believe I was smart enough for college, but I had many guardian angels watching over me all over Crafton Hills campus.

Brooke's Story

The Best Version of Himself

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Cameron Lyons
Cameron Lyons is the best version of himself

I enrolled at Crafton Hills College in 2012, at eighteen years old, being unsure of myself, and what my future career and educational path would entail. Upon graduating in 2014, I had gained an unprecedented level of self-confidence, discovered my chosen career path, and created an educational plan to get there.

Cameron's Story

Counselors Kept Her on Track

Sarah Morrison

Found His Dream Career

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Robert Davila
Transfer Courses – 2011 and 2016

I began attending Crafton in January of 2006. My initial time at Crafton was used to transfer to Cal State San Bernardino in September of 2009. In June 2011, I graduated with my Bachelor's Degree in Psychology at CSUSB. After about a year or so of not being sure what to do with my Bachelors in Psych. I returned to Crafton in May 2012 and began taking coursework to be able to apply for a health care program.

Robert's Story

Thanks Crafton for setting him up for success.

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Wilson Wil Morgan
Class of 1977 AS Administration of Justice

My time at Crafton Hills was well spent and what I learned took me through the events of my life... Thank you!

Wilson's Story

Purple Heart Recipient Inspired to Share His Knowledge

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Bill Ahlborn
Geography – 1970’s

Bill gives Crafton all the credit for inspiring him to share his knowledge and love for Geography, Geology, Weather and Climate, and deserts all around the world.  Bill has now visited 150 countries, all 50 states, all seven continents, approximately 140 possessions and enclaves, and well over 400 National Park units.

Bill's Story

Crafton Calculus Has Served Him Well at Yale

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Mathew Kristoffersen
Class of 2018, AS Mathematics

When I was a senior at Redlands East Valley High School, I took night classes at Crafton. I took MATH 251 in the fall with Professor Crise, then MATH 252 and MATH 265 in the Spring. At first, I felt lonely, and like I didn't belong at Crafton. I would sit next to a working-age mom in one lecture and next to a recent high school grad in the next. And my math classes were pretty tough, too. But the friends I made in my classes are still my friends now that I've gone on to Yale.

Mathew's Story

Proud to Tell People She Started at Crafton

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Kristina Tauran
Class of 2016, AS Multiple Sciences

I started at Crafton straight out of high school in 2012 with the impression that I wanted to pursue Nursing, but I never really felt passionate about the field. I always knew that I wanted to help people and I’d always loved science, but I felt that I didn’t know enough about other careers to commit my whole life to something that I didn’t love. I took all of my prerequisites at Crafton and somewhere along the way I fell in love with fitness through Dr. Ledoux’s total body fitness class.

Kristina's Story

Changing Other People's Lives

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Kyle Krantz
Class of 2017, AA-T Psychology

My name is Kyle Krantz. When I first came to Crafton I was couch-surfing at my friends place, no job, not much self-esteem. After getting my AA I transferred to a university in the Bay Area. Drove there in my own car, to a nice apartment. I have been working with people on the Autism spectrum for almost two years now, teaching them how to talk, and walk, and get jobs of their own.

Kyle's Story

A Foundation to Build Upon

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Ron Janssen
Fire Chief, Yucaipa Fire and Paramedic Department

As a child, I knew I wanted to become a firefighter when I grew up. Shortly after I graduated Yucaipa High School in 1992, I became a volunteer firefighter with CDF at the Calimesa Fire Station. I began working as a seasonal firefighter with the United States Forest Service in 1995. While off season I was attending Crafton Hills College taking entry level fire classes in 1995 and 1996 preparing for a career in the fire service.

Ron's Story

Valuing Her Crafton Education

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Lily (Mary) Barger
Class of 2001, AA Marketing

It's been almost 14 years since I graduated from Crafton, but I still value the education I received there.  I took business classes from professors who had spent years actually operating businesses, and putting the theories they were teaching to practical use.

Lily's Story

Outstanding Alumnus of 2019

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David Avila

David Avila is not a “high profile kind of guy.” 

So when he was named Crafton Hills College’s 2019 Outstanding Alumni, the longtime volunteer asked himself, “Why me?”

“I’m honored and happy about it. But I’ve done things in my life everyone else has,” Avila said last week. “I’m a retired firefighter. People call us heroes but we are doing what we are paid to do. And that’s how I look at what I’m doing now. I’m here to do a service to the people. I’m a public servant and I’m honored to be.”

David's Story

Inspired to Travel

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Steven Barkdoll
Class of 2002, AA Psychology

In the summer of 2000, I had to take a morning math class at Crafton Hills. In this class I met a woman named Teresa Miller who I thought was the most interesting person I’d ever met. She had sold her car, quit her job, put most her worldly possessions in a storage facility and had left the comforts of Southern California to backpack around the world with her girlfriend. Teresa only had 2 outfits, a Eurorail pass and a carefree nature that I was deeply envious of.  Hearing these stories during class breaks every day demystified any fears of traveling. She inspired me to start traveling and encouraged me to take anthropology classes to learn more about the world. 

Steven's Story

Outstanding Alumnus of 2018

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Steve Leverette

Crafton Hills College has named a Redlands firefighter/paramedic its 2018 Distinguished Alumni.

Steve Leverette, a six-year veteran of the Redlands Fire Department and a 2005 Crafton graduate, was selected for the designation from a pool of nominees for his work giving back to the community he serves.

Steve's Story

Outstanding Alumnus of 2017

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Troy Mondragon

Troy Mondragon overcame serious obstacles in his educational journey to reach his dreams. With a diagnoses of bipolar disorder in high school, Troy struggled to succeed academically. Pursuing his goals of obtaining a higher education, Troy began taking classes at Crafton in spring 2000. Troy spent countless hours in the math lab and at the library studying to pass the several semesters of remedial classes he needed in both English and math. One of the best experiences in Troy’s life was his participation in the study abroad program at Crafton. The first in his family to travel outside of the country, this life-changing experience with diversity and culture opened the door to a whole new world of possibilities and sparked his interest to major in sociology.

Troy's Story

A Transfer Success

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Brian Griffin

Back in 1988, I begin with an interest in both Mathematics and Computers. My two instructors, Dr Wayne Milloy and Dr Jay Edwards both provided an enthusiastic learning experience where my curiosity in both subjects grew.

Brian's Story

Crafton Helped Shape His Future Education and Career Path

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Michael Montanez
Class of 2008

The education and experience I gained at Crafton helped to greatly shape my future education and career path. After completing my education at Crafton I received a Army R.O.T.C. Scholarship, Commissioned as an Army Infantry Officer and graduated with a B.A. in Criminology from the University of New Mexico.

Michael's Story

Early Crafton Student Turned Registered Nurse

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Dennis R. Stevens, RN
Class of 1980, A.S.

Crafton Hills College was a terrific next step after graduating from Yucaipa High School in 1976. At the time, Crafton was still quite new and its facilities were very appealing. It’s bucolic location on top of Crafton Hills provided a peaceful, scenic retreat at which to start one’s college studies.

Dennis's Story

Extreme College Student

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Stephen L. Rush
Class of 2002, AA Business, Accounting Vocational Certificate

You’ve heard of extreme sports, extreme weight loss, and even extreme couponing. Well, meet Stephen L. Rush: extreme college student. As an undergrad, Rush took the term “full-time student” seriously—extremely seriously.

Stephen's Story

A Pivotal Moment in Time

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Lucia Nelson Hudec
Class of 1979

My name is Lucia Nelson Hudec and I grew up as an “Army Brat.” I lived outside of the United States for most of my childhood and attended thirteen different schools before graduating from Antilles High School in Puerto Rico. 

Lucia's Story

High School Dropout Now Has Three Bachelor's and a Master's Degree

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Jesse Felix
Class of 2005, AA Business Administration

Jesse Felix was a high school dropout when an accident turned his life in a new direction. While helping a friend move, the truck they had rented rolled and pinned Jesse and crushed his leg. Rather than letting his misfortune derail his life, Jesse used it as an opportunity to re-examine, re-focus, and plan for a better future.

Jesse's Story

Outstanding Alumna 2016

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Lea Deesing

Lea Deesing is a 1990 CHC Honors Graduate with an associate in science degree. She completed her bachelor of science degree in Information Systems at University of Redlands, and a master’s in public administration from Cal State, Dominguez Hills. Deesing serves as the Chief Innovation Officer for the City of Riverside, where she leads and inspires a nationally award-winning department of 60 information technology professionals.

Lea's Story

Outstanding Alumnus of 2015

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Scott McNaul Hernandez
Class of 2001, AA Psychology

Scott McNaul Hernandez was a first-generation college student from a small chicken ranch in Yucaipa, CA when he entered Crafton Hills College. He had never known anyone who had attended college or had any form of higher education. He quickly found a home in the EOPS Program where he became a peer mentor to other low-income, first-generation college students. Scott graduated in 2001 with an A.A. in Sociology. He then transferred to UC Riverside where he earned a B.A. in Creative Writing and Chicano studies and went on to complete his M.A. at CSU Northridge and M.F.A. at the UC Riverside Writing for the Performing Arts Program.

Scott's Story

A Fantastic Foundation

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Jill A. Henderson
Development & Community Outreach Coordinator Humane Society of San Bernardino Valley

Crafton Hills College was the perfect place for me after I graduated from high school. I took a summer school class to get the lay of the land and felt right at home by my first regular semester. I was having trouble deciding on a major or what I wanted to do once I was done with college. Community college seemed like a wise and affordable decision. I was able to take a wide range of elective classes while getting my core classes done at the same time, giving me unique insight into my choices and the time to decide what was right for me. I especially enjoyed my courses in Speech, Film and Children’s Literature.

Jill's Story

Outstanding Alumnus of 2014

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Michael J. Smith

Michael began his current career path at Riverside City College, where he completed an Emergency Medical Technician course. After gaining the necessary experience as an EMT, he came to Crafton Hills College where he completed the Paramedic Program. He completed his bachelor's degree in biology at the University of Redlands and holds an M.S. degree in both Public Administration and Fire Service Leadership.

Michael's Story

Outstanding Alumna of 2013

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Raquel Prieto

Prieto believes the opportunities at Crafton, including flexible class times, were invaluable to helping her complete her education. As a devoted wife and mother, Prieto attended evening classes at Crafton while working full-time. Prieto transferred to the University of Redlands where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Business and Management. In 2001 Prieto started a bookkeeping, payroll, and tax business, Customized Accounting Services, in uptown Yucaipa.

Raquel's Story