Hancock Student Liz Pompa to Prestigious Latino Legacy Award

A student, leader, and advocate for Latinos

Mar. 14, 2017 --After becoming the first member of her family to graduate from high school, Liz Pompa started working full-time to earn money. She worked in a deli, a clothing store, eventually taking a job as a field worker. Pompa, who will earn an associate degree in photography from Allan Hancock College in May, experienced a moment of clarity while working in the lettuce fields. 

“My co-workers kept asking me what I was doing there in the fields. They told me that as a high school graduate I had all the opportunities in the world ahead of me and to go after them,” recalled Pompa. “It made me think, and I realized they were right, and I enrolled at Hancock.”

Less than two years after starting classes at Hancock, Pompa received a prestigious honor for supporting the Latino community. She was selected to receive the prestigious 2017 Latino Legacy Award in the youth category.

“Winning the award blows my mind,” said a smiling Pompa. “I try every day to motivate and encourage students to keep working hard and continue their education. Sometimes, I wonder if I’m making a difference. This award proves to me that I am, and it motivates me to work even harder at advocating for all students.”

Community members started the Latino Legacy Awards last year to honor and recognize leaders in the Santa Maria Valley. Organizers felt it was important to demonstrate their gratitude for people who take the initiative to help others who do not have a voice and positively impact the community. Last year, Nohemy Ornelas, Hancock’s associate superintendent / vice president, Student Services, received the Latino Legacy Award in education.

“Her leadership abilities, work ethic, charisma, and ability to delegate and work as a team have all served her and the college extremely well,” said Stephanie Robb, student activities coordinator at Hancock. “She never forgets her roots and is a true advocate for Latinos, undocumented immigrants, all students at Hancock, and anyone willing to take a chance with hopes of succeeding.”

Currently, Pompa serves as a student ambassador and executive director of the Associated Student Body Government (ASBG). Pompa and ASBG were instrumental in the college’s Board of Trustees adopting a resolution last month to support diversity, unity and undocumented students. She plans to run later this spring to become Hancock’s next ASBG president.

As the advisor to the college’s leadership class and ASBG, Robb has witnessed Pompa go above and beyond on a daily basis. She has seen Pompa find her voice by becoming more involved on campus.

“Liz amazes me on a daily basis, especially from her beginning as a student-worker custodian in the Student Center to now working with college administrators and running for ASBG president. I have the utmost confidence this is just the beginning of Liz making a difference in the world,” added Robb.

As a student ambassador, Pompa assists students on campus and provides outreach to prospective students at dozens of community events every month. Being bilingual, she often meets with undocumented students and prospective students to encourage them to keep working hard and pursue an education.

“I always tell them getting an education will get them further in life and open more doors no matter how hard they work,” said Pompa.

Her encouraging words pushed her husband, Jose Perez Valadez, and her younger brother, Jorge Omar Pompa Rios, to enroll in classes at Hancock.

“I am grateful they can see me making a difference, because if they see me doing it, they know they can succeed too,” said Pompa. 

She plans to transfer to Fresno State to major in graphic arts. Ultimately, she wants to earn a master’s degree to become an academic counselor.

“I want to make an impact on students like my counselor, David Hernandez, and Stephanie Robb and Henry Schroff in ASBG have all done for me,” said Pompa. “If it wasn’t for Hancock and all the programs, services and people, I would not be here.”

If it wasn’t for field workers speaking up a few years ago, the Santa Maria Valley would not have Pompa as an advocate for students and immigrants.

The Latino Legacy Awards committee selected nine other leaders in the following categories: athletics (Rogelio Gonzalez), business (Thedy Barahona), community advocate (Magdalena Sunshine Serrano), education (Ester Prieto-Chavez), health care (Yolanda Robles), non-profit organization (Samuel Duarte), public safety & government (Steve DeLira), parent (Olivia Lunar), and lifetime achievement (Mary Solorio-Jacka).

Pompa and the nine other recipients will be recognized during the Latino Legacy Awards Brunch on Sunday, March 19. The event will take place at the Radisson in Santa Maria from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tickets are still available online at www.latinolegacyawards.org .

All proceeds benefit Central Coast Future Leaders (CCFL), a youth-led organization in Santa Maria that supports the development of youth and families. The organization promotes leadership, education, community service and personal development.  For more information about the 2017 Latino Legacy Awards, call the CCFL at (805) 925-1010.

- AHC -

Liz Pompa

Allan Hancock College student Liz Pompa will receive the 2017 Latino Legacy Award in the youth category. The photography major is a student ambassador and the executive director of the college’s Associated Student Body Government (ASBG).

Top of Page

Last Modified Apr 3, 2017