Meet DH Student Delegate Jonathan Dela Cruz
May 20, 2019
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 - 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 Hygienists Association.
Not bad for a guy who just a couple of years ago was at a traditional university in a major he knew wasn't for him.
Becoming an electrical engineer
"When I was in first and second grade, I wanted to be a dentist," Dela Cruz said. "But my parents said there were no dental majors at the local colleges."
"My senior year in high school, I found I was really good in math, so I decided to try electrical engineering."
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 wasn't pursuing the right field for him.
"I was so bored there, and I just realized that this was my life," he said. "I went straight home and asked my parents, 'What am I going to do?' And, my mom said, 'Why not try dentistry?'"
The road to Concorde and Dental Hygiene
Dela Cruz liked the idea of dentistry but knew he didn't 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.
"She saw me go through the whole thing," he said. "I had a close friend who went through the Concorde's 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."
The road to becoming a student delegate at CDHA
That Program Director at the Concorde - San 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 Hygienists' Association, Dela Cruz votes on bylaws designed to protect or advance the art and science of Dental Hygiene.
"California, to my knowledge, is the only self-regulating state in the country for Dental Hygiene," he said. "My role is to be the voice of students. Everything we do lays the foundation for the future of our profession, which is us."
The road ahead
Now that graduation is fewer than 50 days away, Dela Cruz has been thinking a lot about the future... his future. He said he's all about "proactive" dental care and would love to work in a non-profit health center and work within the health community.
There's 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 wouldn't mind going into private practice so "I can grow up with patients." And, he'd like to eventually create a scholarship for a young person like himself, who wants to go to school to study Dental Hygiene.
"I've loved my experience at Concorde," Dela Cruz said. "It hasn't been easy. But it's been worth it."