The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

Photo credit: Nick Shockey / nshockey.express@gmail.com
A letter from the editor
February 6, 2024

From Students to Staff: Chris Torres

Chris Torres — once a young single father who dropped out of high school and, at one time, was sleeping on a friend’s couch — has come a long way.

Sitting in front of his desk at City College, where he serves as student affairs specialist, on a quiet Tuesday before the Thanksgiving break, Torres reflects on the journey that brought him back to work at his community college alma mater — the school, in his words, that “completely changed what was possible.”

In 2008, Torres graduated from City College with associate degrees in administration of justice and sociology. He then went on to earn his bachelor’s degree in sociology from Sacramento State in 2010, where he is also in the process of earning a master’s degree in counseling.

“I didn’t really have anything. I dropped out of high school — I had three kids at a young age — my son was born when I was 18,” says Torres. “I went into provider mode and took whatever jobs were willing to hire me.”

For Torres, who left Hiram Johnson High School before his 1992 class graduated, higher education was not a consideration. However, in 2005, after what he characterizes as a series of poor life choices and jobs without a future, he took some advice from his mother.

“I had just moved back from San Diego with about $75 in my pocket,” says Torres remembering the time he was sleeping on a friend’s couch. “At the time my mom was going [to City College], and she suggested I should try going back to school.”

Taking his mother’s cue, he enrolled at City College. But, according to Torres, he felt intimidated and academically unprepared for his first semester.

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Like many students who return to or start college later in life, Torres faced some academic and financial obstacles. But, he says, several school programs played a role in his success. Among those were CalWorks, “a welfare program that gives cash aid and services to eligible needy California families,” and RISE, “a student service support program open to all students with an emphasis on helping first generation students and minorities,” according to each organization’s official web pages.

“When I enrolled in Cal Works, they hooked me up with assistance that I wouldn’t have known I was eligible for,” Torres states.

According to Torres, long summer statistics study sessions in the RISE center paid off.

“I don’t really like to talk about money, but I remember being grateful to make $7.50 an hour as a student. And then I came back — and then I was making $13 an hour and then $19,” Torres remarks with a quiet voice. “And, well, now it may not be a lot to some, but I am doing better than I ever thought I would.”

After completing his master’s degree Torres says he hopes to get a counseling position at City College.

“I owe this school and the counselors — the people who mentored me.”

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