“There’s a saying that goes, ‘it takes a village,’ In my life, as you are about to find out, it takes more than a village,” writes MiraCosta College student Philip Gintowt, in his autobiography Crawling up the Mountain.
Gintowt grew up in Philadelphia and moved with his family to Carlsbad as a teen. After graduating from Carlsbad High School, he enrolled at a culinary school and then worked as a line cook at restaurants and hotels where he developed leadership skills. He was tired of the trade, though, so Gintowt’s best friend convinced him to go to college.
When Gintowt was diagnosed with brain cancer the day after Christmas in 2017, faculty and staff at the San Elijo Campus rallied their support. When his cancer returned two years later, their support for this student leader was even stronger.
Gintowt, a student at MiraCosta’s San Elijo’s campus, explains "the San Elijo campus supported me every step along the way during treatment. San Elijo is my village.” Gintowt adds, “The staff, the administration, the faculty – everyone at San Elijo, from the janitors on up – have been there for me during this journey. They’re like a family. It’s just been amazing.”
Kathy Rodriguez, the registrar who oversees day-to-day operations in the Student Services one-stop-shop, is a key proponent and member of Gintowt’s village. “As a student, Phillip stood out because of his drive. He’s determined and will not let anything, including the challenges he’s currently facing, stop him from getting his education and earning his degree.”
Gintownt is taking classes in pursuit of a degree in communication.