Crafton Hills College’s President’s Award Recipient Had a Different Path to His Current Successes

By on June 4, 2019
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Anthony Abate is the first to admit that his path to his recent graduation from Crafton Hills College (CHC) – with three degrees — wasn’t easy. He was a high school drop-out at age 16.

However, in spite of his rather early departure from high school Abate made a name for himself in retail and quickly moved up the ranks. Although he enjoyed what he was doing, Abate said his main objective wasn’t about sales, but about developing people and their talent.

“I was passionate about helping people realize their full potential regardless of their circumstance,” he said. “What I did was hire people who had school schedules because no one else did. But I decided that these kids – well, some of them were a bit older – had goals and were doing their best to reach them, and that’s what I wanted to do.”

But it was while talking to a coworker about his desire to go back to school and help others like him that Abate learned that his lack of a high school diploma would not preclude him from pursuing an education.

After being told “No, you can go to a community college and get a fresh start,” Abate took an assessment test the very next day at CHC and was soon enrolled at the Yucaipa community college. He became “heavily involved” in campus life and in pursuing three degrees at CHC.

In spite of hard work and dedication to his studies – and his involvement and achievements on campus – the thing that took him by total surprise was being named this year’s President Award recipient.

“That night at convocation (on May 17) when (CHC President Dr. Kevin Horan) got up there and started talking about the President’s Award I think it was about two sentences in that it clicked he was talking about me.” Abate admits, “I was actually completely in shock.”

Judy Cannon, honors coordinator at CHC, recommended Abate for the college president’s Medal of Distinction.

“He has shown strong leadership skills and has impacted the Honors program in long-lasting ways,” she wrote in her nomination packet. “It has not been completely smooth sailing along the way as Anthony has challenging personal circumstances…, (but he) represents one of the strengths of CHC: creating scholars. I am so proud of what he has accomplished.”

Abate, a 28-year-old Cabazon resident, plans to attend University of California, Riverside in the winter where he plans to earn a bachelor’s in sociology and a minor in communication sciences. He reflected recently on his academic journey saying, “Up until this point I haven’t had a moment when I’ve been rewarded for the work I’ve done aside from a promotion and a pay raise, and to achieve all of these things is just all very humbling and it’s amazing.  If I can do it, that means anyone literally can do it.”