Congratulations to the class of 2020!
History is often created and shaped by challenges and when things do not really go according to plan. Who else knows this better than our graduating class? Overcoming difficulties of varying levels, not to mention the added troubles due to this pandemic, our graduating students are indeed history makers. The word “graduate” comes from the Latin ‘gradus’, meaning “a step toward something”. We feature our graduates here as they step toward what God has in store for them.
Nathan Mathew :
Graduated from Dougherty Valley High school, heading to UC Santa Barbara, to major in Computer Science.
1. Favorite memory from school/college – The 8th grade graduation trip to great America was one of the most fun trip I had in school. I was disappointed missing out on all the senior year ceremonies of high school but looking forward to making new memories in college.
2. How has your Christian faith helped you in your educational journey? The Bible, our church, Sunday school and my parents have instilled honesty, integrity, and empathy – principles that continue to guide and strengthen me in all my decisions.
3. If you could do one thing differently in school/college what would that be? ? I’d explore more clubs and activities but high school course work, extra-curriculars and maintaining my grades often took precedence. Looking back, I could’ve found the time to be more engaged in school activities.
4. Any advice for your juniors? Get comfortable being uncomfortable (this helps in trying more things). I would also preach that time management skills and minimizing procrastination will go a long way.
5. Any shout out? ? My parents for always being there for me!
Ewin Mathew :
Graduated from Mountain House High school, heading to UC Santa Cruz, to major in Computer Engineering.
1. Favorite memory from school/college – 1. My favorite memory from school was when I took my first AP exam. It was all I could think about and I was really excited to take it. It was quite enjoyable and was my favorite memory from school.
2. How has your Christian faith helped you in your educational journey? Whenever I had to take an exam soon, I would be pretty nervous and didn’t know if I would do well, but knowing that God had my back and he would help me throughout my educational journey really helped and I had to confidence to carry on.
3. If you could do one thing differently in school/college what would that be? If I were to do one thing differently, it would be to be less lazy and to stop procrastinating.
4. Any advice for your juniors? Don’t procrastinate and get everything done early so you don’t have to worry about it later.5. Any shout out? . I love school!!!
Tiara Thankam Abraham :
Graduated from Cedar Life Academy and American River College, heading to UC Davis, major : Bachelor of Arts in Vocal Performance.
1. Favorite memory from school/college – As a vocal performance major transferring to a university, I had to take music-related college courses. One of them was a piano course which I took last summer (2019). It was a semester-long course but condensed to 8 weeks. I was 13 years old then. My mom drives me to the college campus since I was 7 years old. She did that for my older brother Tanishq when he started college at 7. She had taken a couple of courses with him when he was 7 & 8 years old and they were college classmates. As my mom felt that she missed out on that opportunity with me, she enrolled in the piano college course for that summer even though music is not her thing! But she worked hard to keep up with the fast-moving pace of the summer class. I had fun having her as my college classmate, helping her out with music theory, and practicing piano pieces at home. It was a good feeling that we both got “A” grades for the course! How often can we say that our parents are our college classmates? We had that cool experience with mom!
2. How has your Christian faith helped you in your educational journey? – There are times when people did not take me seriously due to my young age and I was not allowed to advance. But my parents and I prayed about it and I am able to succeed this far. My parents and grandparents have taught me to pray before I start writing the exams and ask for God’s guidance, of course, I study hard too.
3. If you could do one thing differently in school/college what would that be? I am happy with the way things have turned out for me in my school and college life. What more can I ask for being a 14-year-old transferring to university as a 3rd-year student!
4. Any advice for your juniors? My advice for juniors/ peers would be to not compete with others but instead compete with yourself. Pick a field or profession that interests you. We all come from a culture that emphasizes STEM jobs because of the opportunities to make money, instead focus on things that you are naturally good at which makes you happy. Though my entire school and college education, I have been an A+ student in the STEM subjects, but STEM was not my passion. My passion is music theory and vocal performance. So with the support and encouragement of my parents, I chose to take a degree in something that I love to do.5. Any shout out? My mom who drove an average of 100 miles/day to college campuses, voice lessons, concert rehearsals, etc. My dad who has been my college advisor and helped me plan out an efficient college educational plan. My big brother who tells me not to give up when others put you down. And then my maternal grandparents who have always been praying for my educational and singing successes. Even when they are very old, not too well and do not understand the Western Classical music repertoire sung in Italian, German, French, Spanish & Latin, they would still come to hear me sing and support me at my vocal performances/concerts/competitions
Steve Kurien :
Graduated from San Jose State University, recently started a new job at Genentech working in their Early Clinical Development Department as a Quality and Compliance Intern.
1. Favorite memory from school/college My favorite memory from college has been meeting all my new friends! I met so many people during my four years and it was truly a blessing getting to know each of them. My roommates were a huge blessing and I got to work and be part of so many organizations that really shaped my career.
2. How has your Christian faith helped you in your educational journey? . “Write it down and make it happen” This quote has been something I have lived by my whole college life and all the blessings that have been provided to me was all part of God’s plan. My faith has definitely been a journey, but God stuck by me through all my hard times and I can’t thank him enough for putting together a great plan for me. Prayer was a huge part of my journey as well. I constantly saw God working through my life in so many areas and the power of prayer really works. Constantly pray.
3. If you could do one thing differently in school/college what would that be? I don’t think I would do anything different in college. I had a great college career and I believe everything I went through in college happened for a reason to shape me into the person I am today.
4. Any advice for your juniors? My biggest advice for both juniors and people entering college is….take risks. Don’t be afraid to fail and don’t be afraid to jump into unknown water because that’s how you will figure out what you want to do and who you want to be. Never limit yourself on what you can achieve in life. Work hard and be kind to everyone.5. Any shout out? A big shout out to my family and the best parents in the world for constantly supporting everything I do whether it’s my music or career goals! A shout out to my sister for always giving good advice and being my best financial consultant! Another shout out to all my friends especially Robin, Michael, and Zach for being great role models and constantly pushing me to be the best I can be. Last shout out to my church family for being a huge part of my life and always praying for me…thank you!!!
Shelby Saji :
Graduated from San Francisco State University, starting a new job at ICF as Energy and Sustainability Engineer in Virginia.
1. Favorite memory from school/college – 1. My favorite memory from college was when my classmates and I would reminisce about our life experiences and our different cultures to learn more about the diversity San Francisco offers.
2. How has your Christian faith helped you in your educational journey? My Christian faith has given me the courage to reach my goal irrespective of the hurdles.
3. If you could do one thing differently in school/college what would that be? One thing I would want to do differently is I would participate in more programs that college was offering.
4. Any advice for your juniors? To never give up no matter what. Have faith in God there is always a plan that we don’t know!
5. Any shout out? Be kind and humble even when you reach your goal!
Rebecca Abraham :
Graduated from UC Berkeley, with Major in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Minor in Education, and in Public Policy. Future plans include research and currently working at Everlaw.
- Favorite memory from school/college – Countless board games nights with my friends to celebrate finishing projects and exams.
- How has your Christian faith helped you in your educational journey? 2. Faith helped orient me beyond just focusing on achievement at school. It pushed me to take on opportunities to engage with people and communities beyond what I was used to, sometimes at the expense of comfort and study time. All in all, the Christian faith enriched my experience. In turn, being in a completely new environment both rearranged and solidified my identity as a person of faith.
- If you could do one thing differently in school/college what would that be? I would have read more. There are so many young philosophers and fiction writers with fresh insight into the unique social issues we face today, and I wish I had taken more time to absorb their perspectives during college. Fortunately, I’m finding lots of time to do that now!
- Any advice for your juniors? Starting out somewhere totally new can feel isolating, and it can be hard to immediately find community. My advice would be to try investing as much time as possible in the things you love doing, because that’s how I ended up finding my people.
Any shout out? I’m so grateful to my parents and sister for their support. While Cal sometimes felt like a different planet, they were always just a car ride away (with yummy food waiting for me!). I’m also thankful for MTCSF youth and the journey we went on together this year planning our conference. The prayer meetings and bible studies we’ve been having during shelter in place have been precious times, and I’m so glad to have community during this period of transition.
Juvento Varghese :
Graduated from UC Santa Cruz, with BA in Psychology. Future plans include grad school and joining the workforce.
- Favorite memory from school/college – Meeting a lot of new faces and being part of the volleyball program had a great influence on me while I was at UCSC.
- How has your Christian faith helped you in your educational journey? The Bible, our church, and my family has impacted me in many ways to be determined and work hard even when failures occur to overcome and surpass all the obstacles to see the light on the other side.
- If you could do one thing differently in school/college what would that be?? I would be more proactive in other clubs in general to try things that are uncomfortable for me to learn and make mistakes.
- Any advice for your juniors? Never give up even if you feel like it, always push yourself.
- Any shout out? All my family members that have supported me in my journey.