Diane Wittman-Punteri: 62-Year-Old Sierra College Graduate, Overcoming Obstacles and Making Plans to Pursue Further Degrees

July 1, 2016

I graduated from Folsom High School in 1972. I always wanted to go to College. Sierra College was the College I wanted to attend, however I had different circumstances and just did not have the courage to apply and go. I ended up moving to the Bay Area-Oakland in particular because I had to work and help to support my Mother.

I was recruited to learn to be an Escrow Officer at a major Title Insurance Company – Transamerica. I always wanted to return to live in Sacramento and go to Sierra College. My parents separated and my Dad who retired at Mather Air Force Base, left my Mother and four children. She was forced to go on Welfare and I had to finish my 12th year of High School. I did leave and move and continued for many years to come back to Sacramento to see and help my Mother.

It was not until thirty years later that I decided to move back with my three kids and go to Sierra College. I lived in the foothills near my sister – Nevada City/Grass Valley and started in Spring of 2003. I took an Art class because I thought it would be fun. Then I realized that I was afraid of learning due to a disability of processing and reading. It took me going to Sierra College until 2010 before I went into the Disabled Student Services to be tested for learning disabilities. I was tested and given services. The primary problem I have is having enough time to read and being an auditory learner. This meant that I received books on tapes for my classes and extra time with exams in order to read at the slow difficult pace I had. The good news is my reading did improve, but the disability will be something I will always have to work extra to overcome.

At the beginning I had three children as young as 5th grade and oldest in 9th grade, so it was difficult going to school and working full time. It was not until I got really serious and took more than one class that I knew I would attain an Associate of Art degree in 2015. I also was admitted to UC Davis for the fall of 2016 as well, however my husband was transferred to Tucson Arizona. I am now going to school to finish a Bachelor of Studio Art – BFA in the Spring of 2017. I will continue on – God willing and work to get a Masters level as well…

Sierra College is such a great Community College and through the years I have met so many great teachers. I did end up at the Rocklin campus finishing the last of my transfer units. I was so excited to graduate at the age of 62 in May of 2016.

Thank you so much Sierra College and the staff that helped me through those years of doubt and lack of confidence! I shall always be forever grateful for all that you have done for me.

Diane Wittman-Punteri at the NCC Commencement in 2016
Diane at the NCC Commencement in May, 2016 – PHOTO SUBMITTED BY DIANE WITTMAN-PUNTERI