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Joey Spraggins

Joey Spraggins' StatueJoey Spraggins Statue BackJoey Spraggins

For Joey Spraggins, the decision seemed natural—she grew up in a family where diabetes, cancers and heart diseases were pretty common, her career choice was already centered around the health and the medical fields when she was in the eighth grade. “I attended Long Beach David Starr Jordan High School for its excellent medical program called AIMS (Aspirations in Medical Services) Academy,” says Spraggins.

Upon successfully completing the Academy in 1994, she continued on to California State University, Fullerton and Fullerton College majoring in biology based on her counselor’s advice. She later realized biology wasn’t what she wanted to pursue and discontinued the study.

While in college, she worked as the operations manager at Bally Total Fitness. After five years at Bally, she became a single mother of her daughter Sidney. The new and sole responsibility got her to realize that the job at Bally was not what she wanted to do for the rest of her life.

“I was always interested in dental care, as teeth are what people see first in your face when you smile,” says Spraggins with her very own pearly bright smile. However, working full time and being a single mother, it was nearly impossible for her to go back to school.

Truly instrumental in Spraggins’ career move was her family. Her aunt recommended Cerritos College for its affordable cost, its excellent dental assisting program and its supportive job placement services. Her aunt also let Spraggins and Sidney move in with her, while Spraggins’ mother cared for Sidney so Spraggins can go to school full-time.

Above all, what pushed her forward and encouraged her was the advice from Joleen Failor, dental assisting instructor. “She walked me through the program and told me to just try out one class, which I did,” says Spraggins, “and I loved it!”

She worked diligently to finish her dental assisting program in a year. “I excelled at Cerritos College. I was focused, I received a scholarship and I graduated the program with the 4.0 GPA.”

She even found her current job at an orthodontic office through the internship in her program. “The program also helped me land a job, which is very important,” stresses Spraggins.

Spraggins is planning to go back to school to get her bachelor’s and her teaching credential. “What I would like to next is to teach future dental assistants here at Cerritos and give back to the college.”

Her positive and infectious disposition, combined with her passion and confidence in her profession will make her an outstanding teacher and mentor for future dental professionals.