By Jimmie LaVerne Thompson
CSU Alumni Council Secretary
Alumna of CSU Dominguez Hills
My grandsons inspired me to speak at CSU Super Sunday.
As I looked out on the City of Refuge congregation, every young face radiated that same spark of potential I see in them. Some people talk about youth as lost and aimless. The young men and women of City are not lost. They are found and they are alive with the promise of a prosperous and blessed future.
Last Sunday, my grandsons served as more than just inspiration. They served as ushers, taking on my typical church responsibilities. You see, I belong to the congregation of City of Refuge and speaking on behalf of the CSU was really a merging of two worlds.
Come to think of it, the whole point of CSU Super Sunday is the merging of worlds. People respond to and are shaped by many forces. Two important centers of influence are school and church. If these two strong forces in people’s lives combine in the message that students prepare to attend and graduate college, then that message becomes more powerful and meaningful.
The CSU Super Sunday message is for young people, but it is not only for young people.
I spent decades in education as a parent volunteer, counselor and commissioner, but I continually put my own college dreams on hold. When I finally did return to school, it was as a working wife and mother with a family to care for. It was not easy getting my bachelor’s or master’s, but I persevered.
A big part of the reason I am such an advocate for the CSU is that I always felt welcomed on the campus of Cal State Dominguez Hills. Some universities ostracize those who are different, including older adults on campus. I never felt anything but acceptance and support at Cal State. Every faculty and staff member that I met facilitated my success.
The students at City should know that we all are cheering and supporting their success. Yet success cannot come simply from outside influence. Growth only comes from realizing your hidden potential by overcoming challenges. Each person must find the thing that drives him or her to climb that next hill.
In many ways, my grandchildren inspired me even before they were born. I wanted them to know that if grandma could get through college, they could too. I already have two grandsons interested in attending the CSU. The third wants to attend USC. Fortunately, I still have a few years to recruit him to my alma mater.