SAN BERNARDINO, CA- By following her dream of becoming a law enforcement official, Evelyn Calderon hopes to serve as an inspiration to her baby daughter, Isla.
“I definitely want to be a role model for her,” she said. “I want her to be not just where I am but even more successful. I am going to support her as my mother supported me.”
Calderon recently graduated from San Bernardino Valley College’s Police Academy and has already been hired by the Arcadia Police Department. Before heading to the academy, Calderon was a standout on the soccer team at A.B. Miller High School in Fontana, and had continued success, beginning in 2009, as part of the soccer program at Valley College.
“I had a great experience at Valley, with education as well as soccer,” she said. “We were back-to-back league champions and state champions as well. I had an injury, and I received so much support form the whole athletic staff and coaches and teachers. My coaches gave me the biggest push to get through everything, and everyone I came into contact with at Valley was so supportive.”
Calderon still holds the scoring record at Valley College, and her skills on and off the field helped her secure a full-ride scholarship to Long Island University in Brooklyn, New York.
“I was born and raised in California, so it was an adjustment, but it was fairly easy in a way because I went with my best friend, Angela Young, who also went to Valley,” Calderon said. “It made it easier to go with someone. I always liked the fast life so it was a fit for me, and definitely fun.”
She planned on majoring in criminal justice, but when the program was discontinued, she switched to political science. She always had her eye on training with the Police Academy, but put that plan on hold until after her daughter was born in 2015. Once she enrolled, Calderon spent six months in the academy, doing everything from physical endurance tests to learning how to operate emergency vehicles to writing memos, where every sentence and period was critiqued. You either make it through or you don’t, and Calderon excelled.
“It feels like a big accomplishment,” she said. “It’s something I finally accomplished, my lifetime goal and dream. To be able to provide my daughter with a better life is very fulfilling.”
Calderon is now joining the Arcadia Police Department, where she will immediately begin patrolling and is one of only a few women on the force. She is excited to begin this new chapter in her life and is thankful for the people who helped her along the way.
“Valley gave me the biggest push to where I am today,” Calderon said. “Once I started going there, with all the support I received, I knew it was going to help me achieve my lifetime goal. Without Valley, I wouldn’t be where I am today.”