LPU graduate Edgar Perez is a self-proclaimed Disney fanatic who is always looking for an opportunity to collect and trade pins from his Disney collection.
With a BA in Business Administration now part of his resume, Edgar is excited about the future and recalls the journey that got him here. He was intimidated on his first day on campus being a first year commuter student. That didn’t stop people from wanting to get to know him.
Edgar soon realized there were lots of opportunities for a commuter student to be involved in campus gatherings. “Getting to lead worship as part of the chapel team with people I study with and learn from, and then to have the opportunity to lead them in worship was such a joy that I will always treasure,” he says.
When COVID-19 forced all classes to digital format, Edgar “attended” online classes from his office at Media Center Foursquare Church in Burbank, Calif. where he serves on the pastoral staff.
Professor Jeffrey Bird opened one of his classes with Psalm 118:24. “Man let me tell you, that spoke VOLUMES to me,” Edgar recalls. “In a stressful season of balancing full-time academics as well as full-time work hours every week, this verse grounded me, motivated me, sustained me, and helped me push through to graduation. God made this day, He knows what it entails, and in it, I can rejoice!”
Looking to the immediate future, Edgar says he is grateful for where the Lord has positioned him. He will continue to serve with Pastors T.D. and Kalli Davis at Media Center and in his spare time he would like to pursue a music degree. “Who knows, I may even explore my passion for woodworking and take some classes to get better, and eventually open a small shop.”
During Quentin Boasso’s senior year at LPU, a global pandemic pressed students into virtual classrooms. It wasn’t what he anticipated as he approached graduation but God had everything under control. Quentin and his wife had accepted positions as associate pastors at River of Life Foursquare Church in Grants Pass, Ore. and they were making the move from Southern California to the Pacific Northwest as they completed coursework for their degrees.
Quentin says one of the most unusual memories of his senior year is sitting in a U-Haul on Interstate 5 as he and his wife participated in online classes. He won’t soon forget that.
Meeting his wife is definitely Quentin’s favorite memory from his years at LPU, and coming in a close second are the friendships he has formed and the memories he has made. “Building solid, consistent relationships has reassured me throughout my time at LPU,” Quentin says.
His years at Life Pacific have been “formative and impactful” in large part due to his “great mentor” Tim Lee who has helped Quentin feel prepared to move forward in his calling and ministry. He has hit the ground running in Grants Pass and is ready for the race.
In addition to his duties as an associate pastor at River of Life Church, Quentin teaches Bible and computer classes at a local K-12 Christian school. He plans to pursue a teaching certificate this summer and will work toward a graduate degree in the next few years. Chances are good that Quentin won’t be required to do his homework in a U-Haul moving van. At least, he hopes so.
Karime Martinez felt overwhelmed in her final semester before graduation. “I felt like I couldn’t catch my breath. I was praying asking God what I needed to do and if he could take the weight that I was feeling at that moment off of my chest,” Karime says.
Her roommate who also was busy finishing her senior year called and asked if Karime needed a breather. “She had no idea what I was going through but wanted to take the time to come and see me. I remember my eyes were instantly filled with tears and I got on my knees and thanked God for hearing my prayers and giving me exactly what I needed at that moment.” A familiar face and a breather made all the difference for Karime.
“My roommates helped me through the roughest patches of my life, and my professors affirmed me in my calling,” she says. “Having a faith-based community was helpful and fulfilling to me because I was able to show and receive the love of Christ in many of my interactions. My roommates, friends, classmates, staff, and faculty were the ones who made the highlights of my experience at LPU.”
When Karime graduated high school, she never expected to pursue further education. God led her to Life Pacific University and although it wasn’t always easy, he graduates this month with a BA in Psychology and Human Development. And that is just the beginning. She plans to pursue a master’s degree as she continues her fulltime job with the McKinley Children’s Center in San Dimas helping at-risk youth succeed in life.
“I’m happy that I was able to experience college life,” Karime says. “I hope to encourage others to experience it as well because it’s something that can change your life for the better.”
Tayler DelaCruz was born and raised on Oahu, Hawaii. When COVID-19 caused travel lockdowns in the Hawaiian islands, her family became concerned that she would not be able to return home because of the pandemic. Within 72 hours, Tayler had packed up all her belongings, closed down her dorm room at LPU, and was on a flight for Oahu.
“It felt like I blinked and my senior year was gone,” Tayler says. “There was no last class, no last meal in the cafeteria, and no last hurrah in the dorms.”
In hindsight, Tayler gained new perspective from the shutdown. She spent over a year with her family at home as she completed her BA in business administration. She agrees with a common slogan that became popular during the pandemic: I am not stuck at home; I am safe at home. “What a blessing it has been to be safe at home with my family,” she says.
Before the pandemic, Tayler was a student worker for two years serving at Warrior athletics events and in the Office of Advancement and Alumni Relations (OAAR). During her senior year, she became part time staff with the OAAR and worked as a paraprofessional teacher at Wahiawa Elementary School teaching English language learners. Now, she is exploring a career in elementary education and is gaining experience as a substitute teacher in school districts around Oahu.
Looking back on her LPU experience, Tayler now appreciates the struggles she faced with everyday challenges. “I created new friendships, new habits, new shifts in perspective during the struggles,” she says. “I also learned the value of community. I learned the value of constantly working on creating spaces for myself that will give me room to grow and succeed not only in the classroom, but everywhere and anywhere I go.”