Meet DH Student Delegate Jonathan Dela Cruz
Oct. 4, 2016
Jonathan Dela Cruz is the epitome of a student making the absolute most out of his Concorde experience.
Now fewer than 50 days away from graduating from the Dental Hygiene program at Concorde Career College â San Diego, Dela Cruz finds himself one of the most powerful student decision-makers in Dental Hygiene in the state of California. He is one of 24 students statewide chosen as a Student Delegate for the California Dental Hygienistsâ Association.
Not bad for a guy who just a couple years ago was at a traditional university in a major he knew wasnât for him.
Becoming an electrical engineer
âWhen I was in first and second grade, I wanted to be a dentist,â Dela Cruz said. âBut my parents said there were no dental majors at the local colleges.
âMy senior year in high school, I found I was really good in math, so I decided to try electrical engineering.â
He enrolled at nearby San Diego State University and set out to be an electrical engineer. But when he spent $80 of his own money to attend a nearby solar convention, he quickly realized that he wasnât pursuing the right field for him.
âI was so bored there, and I just realized that this was my life,â he said. âI went straight home and asked my parents, âWhat am I going to do?â And, my mom said, âWhy not try dentistry?ââ
The road to Concorde and Dental Hygiene
Dela Cruz liked the idea of dentistry, but knew he didnât want to go back to school as long as it would take to become a dentist. The woman who was his Dental Hygienist back home also taught at Concorde.
âShe saw me go through the whole thing,â he said. âI had a close friend who went through the Concorde (Vocational Nurse
) program. When I met the faculty, that sold me. When I met the Program Director at Concorde, I knew that I wanted to be a Dental Hygienist.â
The road to becoming a student delegate at CDHA
That Program Director at the Concorde âSan Diego Dental Hygiene program was on the Executive Board of the San Diego County Dental Hygiene Society
. She started talking to Dela Cruz about possibly becoming a student delegate and, before he knew it, he was in.
As a student delegate to the California Dental Hygienistsâ Association, Dela Cruz votes on bylaws designed to protect or advance the art and science of Dental Hygiene.
âCalifornia, to my knowledge, is the only self-regulating state in the country for Dental Hygiene,â he said. âMy role is to be the voice of students. Everything we do lays the foundation for the future of our profession, which is us.â
The road ahead
Now that graduation is fewer than 50 days away, Dela Cruz has been thinking a lot about the future â¦ his future. He said heâs all about âproactiveâ dental care and would love to work in a non-profit health center and work within the health community.
Thereâs an organization called the Flying Samaritans
, an organization much like Doctors Without Borders, but which includes dental health workers as well.
He said he also wouldnât mind going into a private practice so âI can grow up with patients.â And, heâd like to eventually create a scholarship for a young person like himself, who wants to go to school to study Dental Hygiene.
âIâve loved my experience at Concorde,â Dela Cruz said. âIt hasnât been easy. But itâs been worth it.â