LaTanya King

Student Spotlight: LaTanya King

April 7, 2023 Torrance, CA

LaTanya King is proud of the progress she’s made in her education. Her comeback, as she calls it, was possible thanks to key players at El Camino College who guided her. Professors, counselors, staff members – King had a strong support system in place that led to her ECC graduation and put her on a path to UCLA where she is now majoring in political science and African American studies. And then there’s her biggest supporter and source of inspiration – her daughter Laiah.

“I had to go to school for me and for Laiah, and I had to be successful. That became clear when I found myself in a situation where I didn’t know how I could take care of her now and in the long term,” King said. “And we did it together. When I would do homework, I would read to her out loud; she was with me when I studied. She went through this journey with me and went to commencement with me. I tell everyone that we are a package deal.”

King enrolled at El Camino twice before, but she wasn’t prepared for college work and dropped her classes. Then she was laid off from her job in 2020 and became a mother to Laiah. When Laiah turned 6 months old, King enrolled at El Camino once more. She took mostly all online classes due to the pandemic, which also allowed her to spend time with her daughter. This time, she hit her stride and earned nearly all A’s and was named to the Dean’s List.

“I ended up taking a human development class that helped me to self-reflect and investigate why I struggled in school before and what I needed to do to be a better student,” she said. “After that, I had the confidence to do well. Before, I felt ill prepared. I also was first-generation college student, so I was navigating on my own and trying to figure it all out. All that changed when I found the resources available to me at El Camino and all the different people who wanted to help. I leaned into all El Camino offered and I am forever grateful to everyone who was there for me.”

King is working on her bachelor’s degree at UCLA and has plans to enroll in law school. Laiah attends UCLA’s preschool while her mother attends classes and works on campus.

“El Camino helped with everything; I wasn’t even going to apply to UCLA – I couldn’t afford it and I never thought I could get in. El Camino showed me how all that was possible,” King said.

“It’s all about being ready and having some stability. You can’t do anything if you don’t have a solid foundation for me that was housing. That was my problem early on. El Camino showed me that I can do this, and it is possible to succeed. I hope my story motivates other people to just give themselves a chance to work toward a brighter future. Everyone’s needs are different, but it’s good to know that El Camino has a variety of resources to assist with the array of needs among a very diverse population of students. People need to know that it is possible, and you are not alone on your journey.”