- High School: Westhill, Class of 2015
- Major at OCC: Liberal Arts & Sciences
LaQuida and her family are finally together again. It’s taken 16 years for them to immigrate from their home country of Guyana in South America to the United States. “The only word I can use to describe how I feel is ‘overjoyed.’ We haven’t all been together in so long. It feels great!”
LaQuida’s oldest sister, Shawnica was the first to come to the U.S, arriving in 2001. Five years later her mother followed, leaving LaQuida behind with another older sister, Tiffany. “At first it was really hard being away from my mother but I got used to it,” LaQuida said. “My sister took her place and my older brother was there too.” Four years ago LaQuida and Tiffany came to the U.S. together. In July, their brother Shawn immigrated to the U.S. Their other brother, Devon, also arrived in July but continues to maintain a residence in the Caribbean.
LaQuida has worked hard to overcome a language barrier. In Guyana the native language is Creolese which she describes as sounding like broken English. “When I first came here people really couldn’t understand me. It wasn’t until about now that I’ve been able to interact with people without them saying, ‘What did you say again?’”
LaQuida graduated from Westhill High School in 2015 and knew where she was going next. Her sister Shawnica had earned a degree from OCC in 2005. Her sister Tiffany was already taking classes here on the way to earning her degree in May 2017. “Both told me OCC was a great place to start your journey. I thought I would come here first before moving on.”
LaQuida has adjusted quickly to college-level work. She’s a Liberal Arts & Sciences major who has performed well enough to be invited to join international honor society Phi Theta Kappa. Outside class she works as a Student Ambassador, giving tours to prospective students. She has also served as a peer connector, advising fellow students.
LaQuida will earn her degree next May. She plans to transfer and pursue a degree in journalism. “When I was younger there was a lot going on in my country. I would get out a pen and a paper and write down whatever it was that I saw on the news. It intrigued me. I followed the news a lot. I want to be able to bring the news to people without being biased. A lot of the websites where people get their news from are very biased.”