MODESTO — Modesto Junior College will honor Bunreth Sok as the Disability Services Student of the Year during the 2014 Disability Services Graduation Celebration.
The event will take place Friday from 2 to 4 p.m. in the MJC Staff Dining Room on East Campus.
At the age of five, Sok was struck by a truck and suffered a brain injury. He was paralyzed on his right side and had to learn to walk again. He also lost sight in his right eye and the hearing in his right ear. Due to the intensity of the accident, Sok also struggled with post-traumatic stress disorder.
As a young man, Sok admittedly made some bad choices, including becoming an active gang member. Although he is not proud of this time in his life, Sok was able to learn from his mistakes. By witnessing firsthand what gang involvement can do to young men and women, his dream job is to work as a counselor with troubled teens, assisting them towards a better way of life. Sok would like them to understand that there is more to life than a world of gangs, drugs and the pursuit of money.
In 2005, Sok became a father. At the time, he was living with his mom who had been diagnosed as bipolar. He was helping to take care of her and had to rely on the bus system for his transportation. When his son was four years old, Sok decided to enroll at Modesto Junior College. During this time, he was also fighting for sole custody of his son, which he was finally granted in 2010. As a single father, he remembers walking his son to daycare at 6 a.m. every day, even in the rain, then catching a bus to get to school on time.
“It was a battle balancing everything out, but I always put school as my main priority no matter what.” Sok said. “I would sacrifice my whole day, every day, to get my school work done.”
Sok proudly shared that he now has his own place and transportation.
He plans to further his education at California State University, Stanislaus in Turlock.
For more information on the Disability Services Graduation Celebration call 209.575.7733.