Save this content for laterSave this content on your device for later, even while offline Sign in with FacebookSign in with your Facebook account Close

All together now: Pikes Peak Community College becomes happy haven for big family

May 8, 2017 Updated: May 9, 2017 at 11:56 am
0
Caption +
Adonis Jaramillo Sr., Chris Servin, Nancy Jaramillo, Adonis Jaramillo Jr., and Andrew Jaramillo, from left to right, pose for a portrait on the Pikes Peak Community College campus on Wednesday April 26, 2017. The Jaramillo's family has a rare connection with Pikes Peak Community College with family has members who have attending and who are currently attending. Andrew, the youngest son graduated in May 2016, Adonis Jr. graduates May 2017, Adonis Sr. graduate May 2018 and his wife Nancy and stepson Chris Servin graduate May 2019. Photo by Dougal Brownlie, The Gazette.

Going to college wasn't even a blip on Andrew Jaramillo Jr.'s radar after he graduated from Mesa Ridge High School in 2011.

"I hadn't really thought about it too much," he said.

His girlfriend at the time put the dot on his navigation screen.

"She really pushed me," Andrew said. "She said she wanted me to have a successful life and a future."

He worked at a local restaurant after high school and, in 2014, started studying automotive technology at Pikes Peak Community College.

"I like the environment, and the teachers are amazing," he said. "It's also cost-efficient."

One year ago, Andrew, the youngest son of Adonis Jaramillo Sr., became the first in his family to earn a college degree.

He got a job as a technician at a new-car dealership in Motor City and in recent weeks has been trying his hand at selling vehicles.

"The degree helped me a lot," he said. "It gave me a career."

But there's more.

Andrew, 23, had no idea that his decision to attend college would lead a charge for four other family members to follow suit.

"He inspired me," said Andrew's father, Adonis, who is working on an associate's degree in business.

A Colorado Springs native who served in the first Gulf War, Adonis began attending PPCC through the Veterans Administration's Vocational Rehab Program.

He's also active in the Student Government Association at the main Centennial campus and will serve as the organization's president next school year.

"Education has changed my family, not just for now but for the future," Adonis said. "It's not just that we graduate from high school, it's that we graduate from college."

Adonis' wife, Nancy Lobato Jaramillo, decided what the heck and started taking classes at PPCC at night.

"I thought if Adonis could do it, I could, too," she said.

Adonis Jaramillo Jr., Chris Servin, Andrew Jaramillo, from left to right, in the back, and Nancy Jaramillo and her husband Adonis Jaramillo Sr., front, pose for a portrait on the Pikes Peak Community College campus on Wednesday April 26, 2017. The Jaramillo family poses for a portrait on the Pikes Peak Community College campus on Wednesday April 26, 2017. The Jaramillo's family has a rare connection with Pikes Peak Community College with family has members who have attending and who are currently attending. Andrew, the youngest son graduated in May 2016, Adonis Jr. graduates May 2017, Adonis Sr. graduate May 2018 and his wife Nancy and stepson Chris Servin graduate May 2019. Photo by Dougal Brownlie, The Gazette. 

Adonis' son, Adonis Jr., joined the college movement at the same time as his dad and stepmom. He considered going to an out-of-state school, but it seemed too costly. All three enrolled at PPCC in 2015. Adonis Jr. is chairman of the State Student Advisory Council, a group that advises community colleges throughout Colorado, which he says has enabled him to meet legislators and travel.

He will graduate Saturday with an associate's degree in history and plans to attend the University of Colorado at Boulder in the fall to work on a bachelor's degree.

"I did think about going to college; it seemed like the thing to do," said Adonis Jr., 24.

"We're planting the seed," Adonis Sr. said.

Adonis Jr. likes the diversity, inclusiveness, community feel and wide range of activities at PPCC.

"Originally I was skeptical about having the family here, but it's been a joy, as it's turned out," he said. "It's helped bring us together and has been a good experience."

Nancy's son, 18-year-old Chris Servin, graduated one year ago from Fountain-Fort Carson High School and right away decided to study journalism at PPCC.

"It's better than high school," Chris said. "You have to do more and learn more information, but it's better to take four classes a week than seven a day."

He said he's glad he's attending college: "It'll hopefully give me more opportunities."

Nancy works full-time in human resources at a government agency but wants to pursue her passion for writing. She's majoring in English with a minor in Spanish. She and Chris will graduate in 2019.

"I like to read and write and maybe want to work for an editor," Nancy said.

One of her essays was published in the school's literary journal.

At 47, both Nancy and Adonis Sr. have been the oldest students in some of their classes. Nancy also is grateful for the flexibility of evening and online classes, which fit her work schedule.

"The professors are very encouraging," she said. "I've been learning a lot."

College wasn't discussed when Adonis Sr. was growing up in a household with a single mom who worked eight hours a day at one job and cleaned buildings at night.

"Working hard was something we learned," he said.

Adonis Sr.'s next step after high school was the Army, where he worked in logistics. As a civilian, he spent 14 years in a manufacturing job, then managed an office supply store.

"I got laid off when the recession hit because I didn't have a degree," he said.

Returning to school was "very overwhelming," Adonis Sr. said.

"I've never been scared of too many things, but this was scary," he said.

Nancy also found it tough.

"I always thought I was smart, but I was out of practice," she said.

Adonis Sr. sought tutoring help for math and English through a program for first-generation college students.

After completing his degree in May 2018, Adonis hopes to guide others on their college path or work for a military veterans' program.

"I like everything about PPCC," he said. "I've met a lot of great students and faculty and now want to help other students after I graduate."

Comment Policy
Register to the Colorado Springs Gazette
Register to the Colorado Springs Gazette
Subscribe to the Colorado Springs Gazette

It appears that you value local journalism. Thank you.

Subscribe today for unlimited digital access with 50% fewer ads for a faster browsing experience.

Already a Subscriber? LOGIN HERE

Subscribe to the Colorado Springs Gazette

It appears that you value local journalism. Thank you.

Subscribe today for unlimited digital access with 50% fewer ads for a faster browsing experience.

Subscribe to the Colorado Springs Gazette

Some news is free.
Exceptional journalism takes time, effort and your support.

Already a Subscriber? LOGIN HERE

articles remaining
×
Thank you for your interest in local journalism.
Gain unlimited access, 50% fewer ads and a faster browsing experience.