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Warrior Spirit, Warrior Strong: Reflections on the Past Year

March 19, 2021

Dear Campus Community,

It’s hard to believe that one year ago, El Camino College joined the thousands of other educational institutions in temporarily closing our campus in response to the fast-moving outbreak of the coronavirus. Many of us may recall the days leading up to the campus closure as being challenging and unsettling as the entire College community was completing the fourth week of the spring 2020 semester. On Thursday and Friday, March 12 and 13, 2020, El Camino College canceled classes as a result of the increasing spread of COVID-19. The following week, on March 19, one year ago today, El Camino became a fully virtual campus, and for the first time in the College’s history, classrooms went dark for an entire year.  

On this, the one-year anniversary of our conversion from in-person classrooms to what has now become our virtual reality, we recognize the tremendous effort put forth by El Camino faculty, staff and administrators. Their dedication ensured that our students not only had continued access to educational services, but a sense of stability during what turned out to be a very challenging year. Thank you to our El Camino College employees for their hard work and dedication to ensuring our students remain on the path to reaching their dreams. Their Warrior Spirit was on full display throughout the spring, summer and fall 2020 terms as operations continued online.

As a direct response to initial reports that cases of COVID-19 had spread into our community, a COVID-19 Task Force was formed in March 2020 to assess the protective needs of the College and how to address them. I am proud of the leadership and teamwork exhibited by the committee, as we grapple with this unprecedented situation. The Task Force has played a critical role in ensuring that we safely and productively continue to be of service to our students as they work toward completing their educational goals, and I thank the members for their dedicated service. 

To our El Camino College students, I personally thank you for not giving up on yourself and your investment in your academic and professional pursuits. In spite of a global pandemic, social change, and a historical national election, you remained steadfast and committed to your education. Thank you for your patience and understanding as your instructors tackled the enormous challenge of transitioning entire curricula to fully online formats. While several of our traditional on-campus activities didn’t take place in person last year (and sadly, again this year), I admire your determination to make the virtual version of these milestones of achievement as meaningful, spirited, and celebratory as possible. 

Hindsight is truly 20/20 and while it was a difficult experience, I value the numerous lessons of 2020. As we press onward toward a post-pandemic future, I am encouraged by a sense of promise that I believe awaits all of us. With the decline of daily COVID-19 diagnoses, the increased vaccine availability, and the thoughtful, strategic, and careful reopening of our communities, I can’t help but feel optimistic about the bright and healing capacity of our future. We have learned many lessons over the past 12 months.  Foremost is that we can do anything we put our collective minds and determination to do.

As I look back over the past year, our El Camino family rallied together to make the most of what became one of the most trying years in our nation’s history. While work still remains, I am grateful that we are weathering this storm through teamwork and Warrior Spirit.

Thanks again to all of you who make this academic community a special place and demonstrate what it means to be Warrior Strong.



Dena P. Maloney, Ed.D
El Camino Community College District
310-660-3111 (office)