pic of cecilia tauteoliAt 26-years-old, Cecilia Tauteoli stood in front of more than 5,000 people as student speaker at SBVC’s 2009 Commencement.

It was a triumphant declaration of her reason for going to college.

“I wanted to prove to myself and the world that I wasn’t dumb,” Tauteoli said. “As far back as I can remember, my report cards always labeled me as behind and struggling in reading, spelling and math. I didn’t want that label anymore and it kept me going.”

Tauteoli didn’t wilt under the pressure of consistently underwhelming messages and feedback from her teachers.

“Even though my tests and grades were below average in high school, I still had college on my mind,” Tauteoli said.

In order to qualify for a degree and be prepared to transfer, Cecilia took six English and/or reading courses and seven math courses—most at night, after working all day.

With the help of the Disabled Student Programs and Services (DSP&S) office at SBVC, Cecilia discovered that she had been suffering in silence for years with an undiagnosed learning disability. The DSP&S staff helped coordinate the delivery of her textbooks on CD, which helped her excel in defeating this quiet demon.

“For the longest time, I didn’t consider myself as having a disability because I wasn’t in a wheelchair. But, there are a lot of people out there who have the same challenges as me and don’t even try college.’’
Cecilia transferred to California State University, San Bernardino, to continue taking classes. Her goal is earning a degree in business, with an emphasis in marketing.