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Yazmin Munoz

​Contact: Debra Dennis or 214-378-1851

For immediate release — April 24, 2019

(DALLAS) — ‘Tis the season for mortarboards, accolades, farewells and new beginnings.

Commencement is a date that Yazmin Munoz and Ashma Pokharel are anticipating with hope. The two Dallas County Community College District honor students both are pursuing medical careers. They met at El Centro College, became fast friends and pushed each other to the finish line. They will join hundreds of other students next month at El Centro’s 2 p.m. commencement on Thursday, May 16, at Fair Park Coliseum in Dallas.

El Centro is one of seven DCCCD colleges that will hold graduation ceremonies in May.

After they walk across the stage to receive their diplomas, these two exceptional students will bid each other farewell as they move on to the next step in their lives — four-year schools where they plan to pursue advanced degrees in medicine. The road was rocky at times, but they never wavered from their goals to graduate with honors.

“I have found my passion,” said Munoz, a daughter of Mexican immigrants and the first member of her family to attend college.

“I have to be an example for my family,” said Munoz. “I am encouraged because I surpassed all of the hardships. It makes me realize that I’m on the right track — but nowhere near the end. I still hope to better myself and my community.”

Munoz is a member of DCCCD’s “Street Team,” a group of student ambassadors who spread awareness about education and events at their colleges. As a student leader, she has helped sort clothes for Goodwill, address the Greater Dallas Chamber of Commerce and donated blood to Carter Blood Care.

Both Munoz and Pokharel, an international student, are members of Phi Theta Kappa, a nationally recognized honor society for community college students.

Pokharel’s mother was able to send her daughter to El Centro, but she soon learned she was short of funds to continue her education. With assistance from El Centro, Pokharel obtained a work permit and found a job as a supplementary mathematics instructor at the school. She also became an expert in finding scholarships, and she assisted fellow students with their search for financial assistance.
“It’s very important that we share our resources with others. So many students need information, and I try to help them,” said Pokharel, who moved to Dallas from Nepal to attend college.

Ashma Pokharel

Pokharel completed her associate of science degree in December and enrolled in additional courses at El Centro that will give her a jump on her science classes.

“I’m so glad I came to El Centro. I love this campus. Everyone is so helpful. My life changed when I came here,” said Pokharel. “El Centro helped build up my self-esteem. I will always be grateful. I had a lot of support from good people. I was happy to contribute to this campus because they helped me find my pathway.”

Pokharel and Munoz have received numerous honors at El Centro and recently were named to the All Texas Academic Team, which honors the community and academic achievement of PTK members. Each year, the state honors dozens of academic achievers with a certificate and a medallion.

Other DCCCD students named to the academic team include: Kimberly Perez and Maria Tovar Hernandez, Brookhaven College; Haley Freeney and Daniel Muentes, Cedar Valley College; Uriel Cortes and Alberto Galindez, Eastfield College; Liliana Gonzalez and Raven Jordan, Mountain View College; Shannon Campbell, Katherine Dunlop, Pascal Bakari, Naela Patel and Vrey Ange Zigre, North Lake College; and Ozioma Akahara and Thanh Vo, Richland College.

Graduation ceremonies for other DCCCD colleges are listed below:

Brookhaven College

  • Thursday, May 16 — 7 p.m., Alfred J. Loos Field House, 3815 Spring Valley Road, Addison.

Cedar Valley College

  • Thursday, May 16 — 7 p.m., Inspiring Body of Christ Church (IBOC), 7701 S. Westmoreland Road, Dallas.

Eastfield College

  • Saturday, May 4 — 4:30 p.m., Curtis Culwell Center, 4999 Naaman Forest Blvd., Garland.

Mountain View College

  • Thursday, May 16 — 7 p.m., The Theater at Grand Prairie, 1001 Performance Place, Grand Prairie.

North Lake College

  • Friday, May 17 — 7 p.m., Loos Field House, 3815 Spring Valley Road, Addison.

Richland College

  • Thursday, May 9 — 7:30 p.m., Curtis Culwell Center, 4999 Naaman Forest Blvd., Garland.

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