Cousins Sara Patchen (left) and Deborah Cooke (right) share family photos in the EOPS tutoring lab. (Photo by Glenn Ruiz)
The tutoring lab at SBCC’s department of  Extended Opportunity Programs and Services (EOPS) is the perfect place for eligible students to get help with math, writing and a variety of other subjects. Sara Patchen and Deborah Cooke have tutored English side by side in EOPS  for over ten years. Students often get them confused because they look alike and are both soft-spoken semi-retired teachers.

One day last semester Deborah entered the lab and announced she had joined Ancestry and discovered that Sara is her third cousin. “No wonder students get us confused! We’re family!”

After some research, Sara and Deborah found they share DNA through great-great grandparents and both have fond memories of their world-traveling “ladies man” uncle, Harvey Bennett.

EOPS Director, Paloma Arnold, welcomed the Ancestry surprise and oversees her state-funded program much like a close-knit extended family that provides academic support, financial assistance and encouragement for eligible, financially disadvantaged and academically underprepared students. (Click here for full details on EOPS support services and CalWORKS and Summer Bridge programs). Any California resident, AB540 student or foster youth who qualifies for financial aid may also qualify for the EOPS program. Please tell any eligible students about this program and, if they enroll, remind them to introduce themselves to the EOPS tutoring cousins, Sara and Deborah.