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@State - the SDSU Student Newsletter

Meet Incoming AS President Josh Morse

From Homeless to Hopeful

Associated Students President-elect for 2013/2014 is Josh Morse — a campus leader, champion surfer, recognized scholar, and Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity member.

He is also a former homeless child and runaway.

Even as a very young child, Josh found the resilience to rise above his circumstances.

Josh explained that his father left him, his mother and two sisters when he was only five years old. Shortly thereafter, his mother was arrested and the family lost their home, forcing the children to live with various friends and family.

Even after her release, his mother was not able to turn things around and they were forced to live out of their car or in a tent. Finally, out of frustration and a desperate desire to remove himself from this potentially dangerous situation, the then 11-year-old Josh packed his belongings on his bike and set out on his own.

Catching Waves

For several months, Morse crashed on the couches and spare beds of schoolmates and distant relatives, until the Klein family took him in at the age of 14 for what was supposed to be a weekend.

“I have been living with them for seven years now and could not be more grateful and blessed to have them in my life,” Josh said.

It was during those rough years that Morse got another unanticipated blessing, this time in the form of an injury.

“I broke my wrist skateboarding when I was 12,” he said. “Skateboarding was my passion and means of mental escape until that day when I had to stop.”

To channel his energy, Morse took up surfing instead.

“After catching my first wave, I was hooked,” he said. “Surfing became an outlet to channel all the stress in my life and the ocean became my sanctuary.”

With some stability in his life, a new hobby he loved and a family to care for him, Morse flourished.

 

Photo: Josh Morse with surfboard

Josh attended Point Loma High School, became senior class president and became the school’s surf team captain, helping to establish the first surf physical education class in the San Diego Unified School District.

Choosing to attend SDSU after high school was a no-brainer for Morse.

“Having been born and raised in San Diego, being a surfer and hearing about the Aztecs throughout my childhood, it was an easy decision,” he said. “It has one of the best business colleges in the country and has the best program in the nation to help kids like me: the Guardian Scholars Program.”

Guardian Scholars

The Guardian Scholars Program provides former foster children who attend SDSU with housing and scholarship opportunities. Josh applied for, and was granted, several academic, community service and financial need-based scholarships. He also was able to establish relationships with some influential mentors from the Guardian Scholars Program, specifically Josephine Mojica.

“I call her Mama Mojica because she dedicates herself to her students in a very nurturing way,” said Josh.

Josh was recently awarded the Quest for the Best Vice Presidential Student Service Leadership Award, which recognizes up to ten students annually who represent the best of SDSU, and they in turn nominate a faculty or staff mentor who has made a difference in their lives. Josh chose Mojica for that honor.

While the Guardian Scholars Program gave Morse a helping hand, he returned the favor by serving as a student representative for the program. Morse has worked on several campus and community initiatives to raise the program’s visibility and awareness, as well as the issues faced by foster youth who exit the system and enter college.

Looking Forward

photo of Joshua MorseToday, Morse is an exceptional student and involved in several campus activities. He is looking forward to leading SDSU’s student body as president next year and will be the first president in the new Aztec Student Union when it opens. He plans to attend law school following graduation.

When asked what advice he’d give to other students who are struggling with life issues, he said staying positive and using the resources on campus are important.

“Strive for success, persevere through the hard times, be optimistic, help others, give back to the community, smile, and remember to cherish life because it is too short to take for granted. The sky is not the limit when you can shoot for the stars.”