Bathed in the dusky haze of the afternoon sun, the smell of freshly mowed grass hovering as an undeniable harbinger of spring, the University of La Verne baseball and softball teams on April 8 don...
David DeJesus rolled up lots of miles on the road to his master’s degree as he drove from his San Diego home to La Verne’s Point Mugu Campus twice a week.
With all the miles David DeJesus put in while pursuing his Master of Leadership & Management degree at La Verne, his first job may be as a spokesman for Toyota.
With his graduation from the La Verne master’s program, DeJesus, 41, can give his trusty 1996 Corolla a break. During much of the past year, DeJesus drove twice a week from his San Diego home to classes at La Verne’s Pt. Mugu military campus.
“It was 200 miles each way,” said DeJesus, who said his car has 220,000 miles and has been driven across the United States four times. “I’d leave at about 10 in the morning for a 5 o’clock class, get out of class around 9 p.m. and get home around midnight.”
DeJesus admitted the expense was great, especially with sky-high gas prices, but says he didn’t want to take any chances when it came to his course work. He retired from the military last September and made a home with his wife, Oralia, and his 10-month-old daughter, Kate, in San Diego. Then, he chose to make the long drive twice a week, determined to get his degree from La Verne.
“When I started, I was on active duty in the military,” said DeJesus, a culinary specialist in the U.S. Navy who held the rank of Chief Petty Officer while stationed at the Port Hueneme Naval base. “By the time I retired from the military, I didn’t want to transfer because I didn’t want to take a chance on losing any courses I had taken.”
DeJesus, who had already earned a bachelor of science degree in Organizational Management from La Verne, admits there were times when the drive got to him.
“You never get used to the drive,” he said. “The traffic is unpredictable and there’s a lot of stress, just to get where you’re going safely. You have to have that willingness to do it, something inside. There were many times I thought, ‘Forget about this.’ My wife kept pushing me as well, kept talking sense into me.”
Now, DeJesus is ready to enter the job market, looking for a position in human resources, or maybe in Homeland Security. Then he’s going to need a car.
Toyota, Mr. DeJesus is awaiting your call.