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Your CLC Success Story

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Marcelo Vega
Zion-Benton High School


I want to open my own business in wellness and life coaching. I want to connect with people and help them discover a passion that will ignite them every morning. At first, I wanted to be an accountant and make lots of money, but it was hard to see myself working with numbers more than people. After digging deep within myself, I decided that I wanted to connect with people and add more value to their lives.

I loved the Principles of Coaching class. In the classroom, each of us practiced coaching another person in front of others, and we got constructive feedback. The instructor, Dr. Francis Ardito, is very engaged with the students. He starts every class with a question, such as “What makes a great coach?,” and that sets the tone. He’ll often show a video of a coach then ask us if we think the coach is good or not and why. Dr. Ardito has given me the wisdom to be a better man and scholar. Through him, I got the opportunity to work with the Chicago Blackhawks’ junior camp.

Another instructor, Dr. Eric Rogers (psychology), is an amazing man. When he speaks, you really take his message in. He pauses, and the way he uses his tone of voice inspires you. It’s amazing how he engages you. He’s a Harvard grad, and he sets the standard for all of us to get in the game of life and be successful. He has a quote about following your passion: “Life is the cruelest teacher. First, it gives you the exam, then it gives you the lesson.” For me, this means that I need to stay on my vision and keep going, regardless of what happens in life.

I’ve made new friends at CLC though classes, and in clubs like the Latino Alliance and Men of Vision. In the Latino Alliance, we’re coming up with activities such as (encouraging) voting, community service and educating others about Latino culture. In Men of Vision, we are focusing on developing new male leaders and increasing the graduation rates among males.

College is the best decision I ever made. As a senior at Zion-Benton High School, I received a scholarship to CLC. I thought, “This is an opportunity.” I wanted to go beyond just getting a job; I wanted to pursue my passion.

I love school. When I first started as a freshman, I thought CLC was going to be sort of like high school, where you work on homework in class or have teachers ask where your assignment is. I discovered that instructors are not asking for assignments, and there are no security guards telling me to go to class. I’m a free man, but I’m here to get good grades and succeed. That means reading, following a schedule, going to class, being on time and meeting with instructors. It is challenging. It’s serious.

Incoming students need to know that good time management is huge. You need to set priorities--proper eating, sleep, going to class, doing homework, research papers, meeting with instructors and going to work.