An evening with Annette Bening


Isadora Troncoso

Annette Bening at the SDCCD Fundraising Gala September 20th, giving a speech on why the fundraiser is important to her.

Libni Galicia , News Editor

This year’s first ever and groundbreaking fundraiser for the San Diego Community College District’s Promise foundation for students surpassed the $100,000 goal set by four-time award winning nominee and the most known San Diego Mesa College Alumni, Annette Bening on September 20th.

The Promise was established February 2016 with only 186 students then, and has since expanded to over 2,000 students who have the passion to go to college but lack the financial support they need to reach their educational goals.

The Promise students receive funds from the State of California to cover the cost of their first year’s tuition for those who qualify. Aid beyond that is reachable thanks to generous donors who believe in education and in giving all students the same opportunity to pursue education. Students who are able to push forward with a full-time commitment are awarded free enrollment and cost of tuition for their first two years and even textbook grants to those who need it the most. The SDCCD Chancellor Constance M. Carroll, PH.D said, “this program is about both access and success.” She further explained how students who are enrolled in this program outperform others in the regular student body.

Nearly 90% of the enrolled promise students are of color and hold an average GPA of 3.33 compared to the average of 2.37 held by a similar group non-promise students according to a new progress report. Similar reports exist across all minority groups and furthermore, 1 in 5 promise students hold a 4.0 GPA. Also, according to the SDCCD records, eighty-three percent of promise students qualified for federal and/or state financial aid.

What is important to understand is that Mrs. Bening takes this personal because to her, attending college, was as easy as signing up back in the 70’s when she attended. When interviewed by SDCCD students and staff, Bening said “it meant so much to me… I got so much out of it.” She stressed the fact that we need to go back to the way it used to be.

During the fundraising gala Bening took time to showcase some of her textbooks from her time at Mesa College. She explained how many of her texts books were later visited again and again well after her years at mesa and how others gave her different life perspectives.

Bening explained that the average student today is of twenty-eight years of age and the majority are working students trying to get through college. According to the SDCCD Facts on file, 2017 edition, the employment status at time of application for the fall of 2016 recorded 71% of students were reported working and 19% of those were full time workers. The student course load in the same fall 2016 was 67% part time and and only 33% full time which indicates that students find it difficult to manage between work and school and often result in very slow educational progress.

Two of the promise students who attended the gala stated that the promise gave them “more freedom to explore different classes and interest…getting this really allows us to really open up our horizons and discover what we like before we transfer out.”

According to a new report by Inside Higher Ed eighty percent of students change their major at least one time during their college career. The report also suggests that “students who change their major as late as senior year are more likely to graduate from college than students who settle on one the second they set foot on campus.” These SDCCD promise students are on the correct path to discover where their hearts lie and will be better equipped to succeed once they move on to a university or whichever path they decide to follow.

Thanks to the Donors of the SDCCD gala event, Annette Bening and all her contributions, according to Carroll,  these deserving student’s future is marked with opportunity.