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UC Santa Barbara honors Ceres native for service
Ceres' Jose Magana had a plaque named in his honor, graduated from college, vacationed on the East Coast and started training for his new job within a 10-day span.

"My life is nuts," Magana said via cell phone minutes before hopping on a subway in New York with his fraternity brothers Thursday morning.

Magana graduated from U.C. Santa Barbara on Saturday, June 11. More than 30 family members attended the joyous occasion, including his parents Jose Jr. and Martha.

"My family stressed that school and work came first before having fun," said Jose, who earned a political science degree.

Magana presented his chancellor award, fraternity and graduation cords to his mom, dad and grandma, respectively.

"He gave it to me and said thank you for everything," Jose Jr. said.

Jose earned special recognition for his four-year membership with U.C. Santa Barbara's Residence Halls Association. The Magana/Moret Extended Service Award will be presented to future students.

"I started crying when everybody told me he got the award," Jose Jr. said. "It's something different. It's an amazing thing."

"It's really nice to receive an award like that," Jose said. "I was super-involved."

Magana was one of the founding fathers of Theta Nu Kappa, a multicultural and academic fraternity at UC Santa Barbara. Membership has grown from eight to 35 since its inception in November of 2007.

Jose received the Vice Chancellor Award for Scholarship, Leadership and Citizenship.

Magana was student government president for two years.

He was a member of the Associated Students Legislative Council for one year.

Magana helped raise $12,000 during his three-year stint on the U.C. Santa Barbara skateboard committee. Those funds helped pay for skateboarding lanes on campus.

"This was the best four years of my life," said Magana, who relaxed in New York this past week. "I challenged myself."

Jose started training for his new job with Teach For America on Monday. His two-year commitment with the non-profit organization whose main goal is to eliminate education inequity will begin during the 2011-12 school year. Magana will teach full time in the San Jose area. He'll provide instruction to students in grades K-8.

Magana will also work on his teaching credential and master's degree in Urban Education.

"I really want to help kids out," Jose said. "Education is a big passion of mine."

When asked about his future plans, Jose stated he might attend law or business school, or earn a Ph.D. in education.

He also wants to open his own restaurant and dabble in real estate.

"I'm excited for what's to come," Magana said. "I have a lot more to get accomplished and do."

Jose graduated from Ceres High School in 2007.