Commencement speaker chosen for this academic year’s ceremony

Ben Afshar, Ben Afshar, and Ben Afshar

During his first year as a father, Sam Shipley managed to balance family life with academics, and on top of that, became SBCC Male Athlete of the Year.

Shipley is also this year’s commencement speaker.

This season saw Shipley blossom as a linebacker, as well as a leader for the Vaqueros. Shipley accumulated over one hundred tackles, good for eight in the state of California. Demonstrating his play and strong character, he earned the respect of his team and coaches.

“I would never demand something of my teammates that I wasn’t already doing,” Shipley said. “I wouldn’t ask them to do anything that I wasn’t willing to do, or sacrifice anything I wasn’t willing to sacrifice first.”

Vaqueros Football Coach Craig Moropoulos believes it’s not just Shipley’s leadership qualities that set him apart.

“[His] uncanny work ethic. He achieved all this while moving into parenthood with the birth of his son,” Moropoulos said. “He is one of the finest young men I have ever been around.”

Cindy Salazar, an Administrative Assistant at City College, was a member of the panel composed of students, faculty members and administration officials that selected this year’s speaker.

“We wanted to pick a candidate that would resonate with the graduating class,” Salazar said.

After sustaining a serious knee injury last season, Shipley said he realized the fragility of his football career. This realization motivated him to push himself as an athlete.

“I knew I wanted to get back, I really worked hard every day towards that goal,” Shipley said. “That really prepared me for this season, I felt really good.”

His performance on the field did not go unnoticed, as he was offered a chance to play football for the University of Maine.

A huge factor that went into deciding Shipley’s academic future was the wellbeing of his wife, Kaisey, and nine-month-old son Bentley, who Shipley describes as “a burst of motivation.”

Shipley knew that Maine was the right choice for him because of the emphasis the coaching staff placed on his family.

“If my family’s taken care of, my transition’s a lot easier,” he said. “They really want us to be comfortable there.”

Shipley’s post-high school journey through City College was not as straightforward as others. After spending a year at City College following his graduation from San Marcos High School, Shipley spent two years in South Texas on a Mormon Mission. This experience was instrumental in shaping Shipley’s outlook.

“[It] changed my life, completely. For two years you forget about yourself; you serve other people, help them any way you can,” Shipley said.

Working closely with many less fortunate individuals, Shipley saw firsthand the difference educational opportunities make in a person’s life.

“After my injury and that experience on the mission, I realized that football can be taken away at any moment,” Shipley said. “If I really want to have opportunities in my life to be successful, it’s going to be education that’s going to get me there.”

Shipley’s current approach to class and academic achievement reflects how greatly he appreciates the ability to learn.

“I came here as a football player that had to go to class,” Shipley said. But eventually, Shipley developed a profound appreciation for City College.

“Going to school is a privilege. A lot of people don’t have that opportunity.”

While Shipley’s self-motivation is apparent, he also credits the faculty members and administration officials of City College as being extremely helpful.

“They did everything they could to help me be successful,” Shipley said. “I love people that won’t allow me to settle.”

As part of his address, Shipley plans on highlighting the importance of believing in oneself and working hard.

“[We hear] so much about how bad the economy is, how difficult it is to transfer to the school you want to… I don’t believe that,” Shipley said. “Regardless of your talents, you’ll find a way to be successful.”