This story is part of the Santa Ana College Foundation's Profiles in Promise campaign. Profiles in Promise focuses on the inspiring journeys of Santa Ana College students, scholars, and alums that showcase the belief of the Santa Ana College Foundation that every student, regardless of their circumstances, deserves an opportunity to create a powerful and successful future.
Proud. Determined. Grateful.
Those three words best describe Class of 2013 valedictorian, Honors Program student, and President’s Scholar Medalist Claudia Buccio. Born in Chino, California, her family relocated to a southern Mexican town when she was nine. Her parents pursued entrepreneurship there, opening a restaurant. Claudia describes her story as one of “reverse migration.”
The move, mused Claudia, instilled a profound sense of cultural identity. "I feel like Mexican American is literally my definition because I grew up in both countries," she says of her unique upbringing. "I learned the language, food, and traditions, which gave me a solid base to be proud of where I came from."
The Superman Effect
If you know anything about the DC Comics character, Superman, you know that in the span of seconds, he transforms from an understated journalist in a suit into a cape-wearing, saving-the-day superhero. The irony of Claudia’s path to journalism is that she found her calling because of Superman. “I had a science project, and we had to explain the death of Superman’s girlfriend through physics, so thanks to that class, I learned I wanted to become a journalist,” laughs Claudia. Another plot twist: Claudia’s aunt was a journalist in Mexico and let her record breaking news on set. She still has a picture of the exact moment she chose her career path.
Reporting Live From SAC
It’s amazing what a Google search can do. Once Claudia decided her passion was to pursue a broadcast journalism career, the next step was to make it happen. Setting her sights on the University of Southern California was the easy part. Making it happen, not so much. Enter her godparents in Orange County.
Family by love, not blood, the parents of her godparents opened their home to Claudia. After returning to the U.S., her godmother suggested enrollment in Santa Ana College (SAC) to get reacquainted with the U.S., both culturally and academically. She thrived at SAC, bonding with professors, taking advantage of the environment and support, and honing her reporting skills. “SAC gave me scholarships and put me in the right programs [for transferring to USC],” says Claudia.
Late professor Terry Bales and USC alum gave her the nickname “superstar,” and English professor Dana Basset reviewed her essays. By her third semester, she rose from doing an on-the-spot Noticiero Latino del Condado de Orange newscast to one of its executive producers. She also reported and anchored for the English newscast, Around and About Orange County.
Claudia (middle) with SAC Foundation donors at the 2015 SAC Scholarship Ceremony
After SAC, Claudia achieved her goal of transferring to USC, earning a Bachelor’s in Communication and a Master’s in Journalism.
After reporting for NBC in Palm Springs and Univision in San Diego and Palm Springs, winning two Emmy Awards, and securing a nomination for a Golden Mike Award from the Radio and Television News Association of Southern California, Claudia is at home at the Central California station KSBY, where she currently anchors the early evening news during the week.
At KSBY, she covers stories about the Latino community and, like always, is learning along the way. “I enjoy the creativity and how rewarding it can be to bridge communities,” she says. "Having someone in a newsroom with different ideas and backgrounds changes how we tell stories. Every day I meet incredible people.”
Claudia is the pride of her family for not just defining her dreams but achieving them. Her dad often shares pictures of her, and her mom is her biggest Facebook fan.
“My parents showed me what sacrifice looks like,” she says of her discipline. SAC showed up for Claudia, she says, and for that, she is eternally grateful. “The professors were very caring. And there are so many resources and programs. They want you to succeed,” she says.
That’s precisely what Claudia Buccio did.