by Hunter Chase
An Associate of Arts Degree in Liberal Arts and Sciences was posthumously awarded to Aurora Godoy, who was a victim of the terrorist attacks in San Bernardino last December, during a Los Angeles Community College District meeting of the Board of Trustees on May 11. Dr. Otto Lee, president of LAHC, presented the degree to Godoy’s husband, James Godoy, their son, Alexander, and her parents, Dolores Valles and Juan Banales.
Scott Svonkin, President of the Board of Trustees, said, “We want this to be part of celebrating Aurora’s life and accomplishments, because through her hard work, and commitment not only to her beautiful family, but to her career, to bettering herself, she represents the best of what our district has to offer.”
Dr. Lee said, “She will always be with us. She will be with us in our classrooms, she will be amongst us in student activities, and now she will forever be a part of our class of 2016.”
Sydney Kamlager, a member of the Board of Trustees, suggested that the district offer free tuition to her son for any of the nine colleges in the district, once he is old enough to attend. Other members of the board were very supportive of the idea, including Svonkin.
Assemblyman Mike Gipson (D), who represents the 64th district, commended the Board of Trustees for their leadership in offering free tuition to her son. Gipson suggested the idea of awarding the degree to Godoy posthumously.
“I think it’s wonderful that the board supported the awarding of the degree,” Lee said. “She is an inspiration to all of us, and this way her memory [and] her legacy will continue to be a part of our family.”
The members of the Board of Trustees all expressed their condolences, including Svonkin. “We don’t want her to be remembered as a victim, we want her to be remembered for her hard work, as a mother, as a wife, [and] as a daughter,” Svonkin said. “Students like Aurora work so very hard every day to better themselves, and give their family a better life.”