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College will award a posthumous degree to a San Bernardino terror attack victim

Aurora Godoy, right, is set to receive her associate degree posthumously Wednesday. She was the youngest person killed in the San Bernardino terror attack.

Aurora Godoy, right, is set to receive her associate degree posthumously Wednesday. She was the youngest person killed in the San Bernardino terror attack.

(Courtesy of James Godoy)

Aurora Godoy was two classes shy of earning an associate’s degree when she became the youngest victim in the San Bernardino terror attack. This week, a California college will award her degree posthumously.

Los Angeles Harbor College President Otto Lee will present Godoy’s family with an associate’s degree in liberal arts and sciences during a meeting Wednesday of the L.A. Community College District’s board of trustees.

“We thought it was fitting because she represents so many of our students and the dreams they have,” Lee said. “She had a full-time job, a family and yet she was able to continue to try and advance and complete her degree.... We want her legacy to continue to inspire students who come to us.”

The 26-year-old was the youngest of 14 people killed when Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, stormed a holiday party for San Bernardino County workers in December.

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Lee said he is not aware of another time when the college has awarded a posthumous degree.

Godoy started at the college in fall 2007 and took classes through fall 2011, according to Lee. Last fall, she resumed studies.

Her husband, James Godoy, said his wife attended intermittently because the family moved, she started a new job and the couple had a son. However, he said she had planned to obtain the two-year degree and transfer to a university to study for a bachelor’s degree.

“She finally had a permanent job with the county, it made sense to finish school so she could move up,” he said. “I think it’s nice for my son to say, ‘Hey, she finished.”

James Godoy is planning to attend the meeting Wednesday with their 2-year-old son, Aurora Godoy’s parents and a few of his wife’s friends.

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At the meeting, scheduled to take place at 6 p.m. at 1111 Figueroa Place, Aurora Godoy will be recognized as a member of L.A. Harbor College’s class of 2016.

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“The one way that terrorists don’t win, is when you celebrate the lives of the victims.... We’re going to celebrate Aurora’s life and her commitment to her education and her family,” said Scott Svonkin, president of the board of trustees.

It’s the only way, Svonkin said, “we can help make sure that our students and the community know that Aurora’s life and the life of every victim is way more important than the efforts of terrorists to put fear in the hearts of people in California and our country.”

brittny.mejia@latimes.com

Follow me on Twitter @brittny_mejia

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