News - 04/26/2013

MiraCosta College Celebrates the Success of Graduates at 2013 Commencement

MiraCosta College will hold its 2013 commencement on Friday, May 17 at 5 p.m. in front of the Administration Building at the Oceanside Campus, 1 Barnard Dr., Oceanside. Of the more than 1,000 students eligible to graduate, approximately 350 are expected to participate in the ceremony. 

The ceremony will begin with a performance by the MiraCosta Oceanside Jazz Orchestra (MOJO), under the direction of Stephen Torok, who promises a funky jazz arrangement of “Pomp and Circumstance” as part of the recessional. MiraCosta College 2013 graduate Tzytle Steinman will sing the national anthem. Student speaker will be DeAngelo Brown, 2013 Coca-Cola Community College Academic Team Bronze Scholar.

Among those receiving their diplomas are three graduates who represent the unique paths that students travel on their way to college success.

Blake Belnap
Former Special Ed Student’s Decade of Determination Earns Him a Degree

Talk about persistence! Blake Belnap took the long road in his effort to obtain his associate in arts degree in general studies. Enrolled in special education classes from elementary through high school because of a learning disability that stunted his math and reading skills, Belnap enrolled at MiraCosta College determined to earn a degree. After first attaining a landscape assistant certificate at MiraCosta College, he secured a steady job at Legoland that he has now held for five years. Even more determined to obtain his A.A., Belnap continued his studies. And MiraCosta College has given him the support he’s needed to reach his goal and gain independence. 

“They’ve helped me get to where I wanted to go. They definitely help people follow their dreams.”

Read more of Belnap’s story on our website at

Jarrett Rogers
Son of Deployed Marine Helps Raise His Siblings While Earning a College Degree

When Jarrett Rogers graduated from Fallbrook High School, he enrolled at MiraCosta College because he wanted to stay close to home to help his mother and five younger siblings while his father, a helicopter pilot in the Marine Corps, was deployed to Iraq. Rogers got a bit of a jump-start when he first enrolled at the college by participating in the college’s Summer Bridge Program, an “academic boot camp.” He excelled in the program and came away with a $150 scholarship to continue his studies. His ongoing high achievement won him even more scholarships, and membership in the MiraCosta College Phi Theta Kappa Honors Society. Inspired to help others find their own paths to success, Rogers became a student ambassador. Each week he speaks to high school students throughout our community. A business major with an emphasis in entrepreneurial studies, Rogers found that he had a knack for inspiring others.

“By speaking to these young leaders, I know there is potential in them and I want to help them discover it.”

Read more of Rogers’ story at

Denise Nealon

Divorced Mom Earns 4.0 GPA…and So Do Her Three Daughters 

For Denise Nealon, major life changes led her to MiraCosta College in an effort to turn her life around. After getting laid off from her job as an accountant and the trauma of ending her marriage, Nealon enrolled at MiraCosta College and now is receiving her A.A. in sociology, plans to transfer to CSU San Marcos, and aspires be a therapist. Working part-time and raising three daughters makes life hectic and challenging, but with help from MiraCosta College dedicated instructors, Nealon has landed on the President’s List and earned a 4.0 grade point average.

“Professors at MiraCosta College are amazing,” she said. “When you have problems at the college, they work with you to overcome them.”

Read the rest of Nealon’s story at 

Photos from last year’s graduation ceremony are available on the MiraCosta College Flickr page or at

For additional information about the ceremony, please contact James Gonzales at or call 760.795.6899. 

To speak with or obtain images of any of the students in this release, please contact Cheryl Broom at 760.795.6612 or

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