49-Year Old Menifee Man Graduates with Associates Degree

Rodney Noeller At age 15, Rodney Noeller dropped out of high school and left his childhood home i...

Rodney Noeller
At age 15, Rodney Noeller dropped out of high school and left his childhood home in Apple Valley. More than 30 years later, tired of working a string of low paying jobs, he returned to school, determined to change his life and earn a college degree.

This May, Noeller, 49, a resident of Menifee, will graduate with an Associate degree in Water Supply Technology from San Bernardino Valley College. He has a near perfect GPA.

In 2009, with a friend’s encouragement, he decided it was time for a fresh start even though he lacked a high school diploma.

“I think a lot of people said I didn’t have a chance at a degree,” Noeller said. “But I’m doing it. I have a plan now, and I stick to it.”

As he waited in line to enroll at the college, Noeller saw a brochure for the Water Supply Technology program and thought it sounded interesting. The program trains students to work in the water or wastewater industries. Students learn about the fundamentals of drinking water distribution and treatment, wastewater collection and treatment, and water conservation. Graduates often work for federal, state, county, or city agencies as well as in the food and beverage industry.

The Water Supply Techonology program, along with other programs, was made possible with the support of Desert Regional Consortium of Community Colleges, a network of 13 community colleges in the desert and Inland Empire regions of California.

On the first day of class, Noeller vowed to his professor Achala Chatterjee, who is now dean o