High School: Crespi Carmelite in Encino, CA, Class of 2014
Major at OCC: Communication
Eduardo Paredes is always thinking about his parents. They’re with him every minute of the day even though they are 3,000 miles away. “I’m so fortunate to have two parents who gave up so much for me. The slightest change in my life could have derailed me getting here.”
Paredes’ parents are immigrants from Mexico who moved to the United States and settled in the Los Angeles area. When it was time for Eduardo to go to high school his parents decided he needed smaller class sizes only available in a nearby private school. “The decision was made a week before school started. They sacrificed everything to send me there. I still don’t know how they were able to afford it.”
While attending Crespi Carmelite High School, Paredes began to play lacrosse and excelled at it. After graduation he decided to attend a four-year college close to home. Paredes wasn’t playing lacrosse, was struggling in school and considered quitting after one year.
During the summer of 2015 Paredes was participating in a lacrosse tournament when a family friend saw him play. She told him he should be playing in college and offered to help him find a new school. “We looked at a list of junior colleges. Her philosophy was to start at the top which is where OCC was.”
In August OCC Lacrosse Head Coach Chuck Wilbur received a call from that same family friend. She explained his situation and sent the coach a few highlights of Paredes in action. A short time later Paredes was at OCC in time for the start of the fall semester.
Life in Central New York was much different from southern California but he adjusted quickly. “I really enjoyed the seasons and seeing the leaves change colors. I got used to the winter too. At home I used to look out the window, see the sun and go out in shorts and a t-shirt. Here you see the sun, walk out, feel freezing cold and turn around and go put more clothes on.”
In class Paredes has found the College to be a great fit for him. “I really enjoy going to a community college. It has set me up better for moving forward and attending a four-year college.”
When he’s not in class or at lacrosse practice Paredes works as a Student Ambassador, giving campus tours to prospective students and their families. “When I started I was very shy. Leading groups across campus and telling them about everything happening here has helped me become more outgoing.”
Paredes’ first year on campus was so impressive he received the Rob Edson Scholarship for the 2016-17 academic year. It is awarded annually to one student-athlete in memory of the College’s former Athletic Director who passed away unexpectedly.
Although he still has a year to go on campus and in uniform, Parades is beginning to think beyond OCC. “I hope to play lacrosse at a four-year school. I see it as a way to pay for college. I want to use my athletic ability to better my opportunity in life.”
Wherever he goes, Parades will always appreciate the sacrifices his parents made to help him get there. He’s the youngest of three children and the first family member to attend college. Receiving an associate degree in May 2017 will be the beginning of his payback. “True happiness doesn’t cost a penny. Earning a college degree will make my parents ten times happier than me making a million dollars. They invested so much in their kids so they would have a better life. I don’t know how they did it but I owe everything to them.”