The Nickel & Nail
The Nickel and Nail
In November 1971, the Executive Committee of the California Community College EOPS
Association (CCCEOPSA) adopted the Nickel and Nail as the symbol of aid offered to
various California community college students through EOPS.
How did a nickel and nail come to represent a successful effort at helping provide
the motivation and means to thousands of young people with thousands of different
The story goes that a young man some years back in the Deep South was walking down
a dusty road to visit a lady friend, all too aware that the nickel in his pocket was
all he had to the world. That emptiness tore away at his self-esteem.
But, as he walked, he noticed two gnarled horseshoe nails that were twisted together
and lying by the road. He picked them up and put them in his pocket, and as the metal
jingled against his meager fortune, the young man walked a little straighter, with
a little more pride and dignity.
It is important to have "something to jingle." EOPS works to enhance self-esteem,
foster pride and dignity, and motivate people to effectively define and pursue career
The nails twisted into a puzzle, suggesting the problem has yet to be unraveled for
helping people who, by circumstances of the society in which we live, have been limited
in meeting their own educational challenges.
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Science Instructor, PVHS
One of the obstacles that I had to overcome was breaking the language barrier. Another obstacle I faced was financial hardship. As I completed my classes at AHC, I had to work in many part-time jobs such as a math/science tutor for the college tutoring center, night shift clerk for a local grocery store and vegetable cooling. Also, the MESA program and the STEM Center, not only supported me academically through resources such as access to books and computers, but also through working with students with interest in mathematics, science and engineering.
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