I awoke early on a chilly Saturday morning to drive with Maureen Osborn and her camera equipment and GPS close at hand over the 101,134, 5 and 60 freeways to Boyle Heights to arrive at Stevenson Middle School at 8:45. School busses were arriving with students participating in the Migrant Education Program’s College Bound Workshop organized by Jose Pimentel.
I left three hours later warmer, more energized and filled with a renewed dedication to securing the funds to help children of migrant workers who want to go to college. An exciting day had been planned for 12th graders interested in applying for colleges and scholarships.
Mr. Pimentel began the morning activities by telling the students how he had met the challenges of being the son of farm workers and had gone on to earn a Bachelor’s Degree from CSU Dominguez Hills and a Master’s Degree from Azuza Pacific University. He received his Administrative Credentials from USC and National University. I was given the opportunity to share information about my son, Drew whose work as an education reporter had inspired the scholarship.
Roger Romero, the Migrant Office computer expert was on hand to walk the students through the on-line application process which seemed much less overwhelming than it had last year. The students were reminded that this application might also make them eligible for other scholarships managed by Scholarship America.
The highlight of the morning for me was seeing our scholarship graduate, Cynthia Zepeda and recipient Roxana Muratalla lead the workshop on “Writing Effective Personal Statements”. They prepared a power point presentation that covered the importance of writing an effective essay, interpreting prompt themes, how to avoid problems, and the necessity for feedback before submitting.
Students were given some time to practice writing about how their educational plans related to their career objective and future goals.
After hearing the high school seniors share their hopes of pursuing careers as marine biologists, astrophysicists and sociologists, I realized that the task facing the Dollars for Scholars Board in selecting candidates for scholarship awards in May would be a difficult one.
I was able to chat with the students during lunch and tell them how my four years at UCLA had been the best years of my life and feeling like their abuela, I urged them to pursue their dreams of a college education, as I had many years ago. I’m still reaping the rewards.
Lila Lee Silvern