Cerritos College
Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

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Cerritos College Celebrates Disability Awareness Month

Cerritos College
Cerritos College students with disabilities share experiences with navigating their everyday life as a person in society with disabilities. The college celebrates the students accomplishments.

On October 29, Cerritos College hosted its first Disability Awareness Panel via Zoom. The Zoom discussion was moderated by David Rodarte, Student Accessibility Services Coordinator. The primary purpose of this event was to highlight the accomplishments of various students with disability’s.

This panel discussion was also intended to to be highlight specific issues that persons with disabilities face, including universal design in education, social justice and employment issues that impact persons with disabilities.

The four person panel represented students with various types of disabilities. The students spoke about their first hand experiences attending college.

Rodarte asked a series of questions that the panelist were all very eager to answer. The panelists included Kristine Crable, Hector Arellano, Brian Gutierrez, and Jeremy Hill.

Kristine Crable, who is deaf, started attending Cerritos College in 2005. She is majoring in Self Development and Social Behavior. She indicated that she left Cerritos for a little while because she was not as focused as she needed to be but returned in 2013.

Now her goal is to transfer to California State University at Long Beach.

Crable said, “I don’t see myself as disabled. Yes I can’t hear but I am still capable to do lots of things.

“My high school and college experiences were very different. I didn’t know what I wanted to do and thought the answer would come easier. I have seen a lot of changes at Cerritos from the time I started to now.

“The increase in services provided has been impressive. It needs to continue to grow so children can see what it looks like and what will be available for them,” said Crable.

Brian Gutierrez has Spina Bifida. Brian attended Cerritos college from 2008 to 2015 and obtained an Associates of Arts degree in Sociology.

He also obtained a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Rehabilitation Services with honors. Gutierrez said, “My disability is a gift. Disability is a typical form of living. It’s not abnormal.

“Accessibility is a barrier. I like working out and I like going to the gym but its not as accessible as it should be,” said Gutierrez. Generally, Spina Bifida occurs at birth when the spine and spinal cord don’t form properly.

“My advice to anyone with a disability would be to have passion for what you want to do. Start early and look at all the programs that are being offered. This will help you to accomplish what you want in life and ultimately make you stronger,” Gutierrez said.

Hector Arellano graduated in 2016 from Cerritos with an AA degree in Political Science. After earning his AA, Hector transferred to California State University, Long Beach where he obtained a BA in Political Science and a minor in Journalism.

Currently, Hector is attending Law School at USC. His goal is to become a civil rights attorney. Arellano said, “I knew I wanted to help people. People with disabilities have challenges but it’s important to advocate for yourself but it’s also important to advocate for others.

“Its also important for people to understand the disability dynamics for everyone who is different,” Arellano said.

Other disabilities include Attention Deficit Disorders, blind and low vision, epilepsy, seizures, intellectual, psychiatric and learning disabilities.

Rodarte intimated that Cerritos college intends to hold more forums and activities that will highlight the accomplishments of the students in this program. Click here for further information about the student accessibility services.

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About the Contributor
Jacqueline Cochran
Jacqueline Cochran, News Editor
Jacqueline Cochran is the News Editor for Talon Marks this semester.  She is returning to the Talon Marks family for a second time.  Last semester she completed all the requirements for an AA degree in Journalism.  She hopes to transfer to California State University Long Beach in the Fall to begin working on a Bachelor's Degree in Journalism.  She enjoys writing, watching movies, traveling and trying new things.  Last year she learned how to swim which was a long time goal. This year's new thing will be kayaking and skating.
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Cerritos College Celebrates Disability Awareness Month