Falcon Kids initiative proves to promise early introduction to college

Photo+Courtesy+by+Enrique+Rodriguez

Photo Courtesy Enrique Rodriguez

Photo Courtesy by Enrique Rodriguez

Bianca Salgado, Opinion Editor

The focus of the initiative presents young students at the elementary school level the concept of going to college.

Dean of Student Services Dr. Gilbert Contreras said, “It is one of the best programs I’ve seen in the community college system that is unique to Cerritos College.”

Initiative Rejected Initially Due to Expense

Commissioners from the previous semester Enrique Rodriguez and Jessica Germata, presented legislation to ASCC Senate on Wednesday, Nov. 25 in regard to the Falcon Kids initiative for a request of funds at a total of $19,510.

Prior the presentation the initiative sat on the Wednesday, Oct. 28 agenda of ASCC Senate.

However, financial aid donated $5,000 in support of the initiative for promotional materials. Rodriguez said he could not get all 30 students finger-printed nor get all the books and crayons, but he did not have to touch the Students’ Branding and Outreach account.

ASCC President Eduardo De La Rosa comments that Falcon Kids “still launched with the financial support of the financial aid office. They donated $5,000 initially and we got small contributions to help buy materials for the program.”

The Voices Behind the Initiative

Rodriquez was the voice behind the initiative since the summer of 2015. He wrote the legislation, helped with fundraising and asked for ideas from students in which it primarily landed on himself along with a couple of students.

“I’m not going to say I’m the co-founder but I was the guy pushing behind it; I was doing the most pushing – the force behind it you can say,” he said.

The several students who helped Rodriguez by brainstorming and gave ideas were:

  • Alexis Luna
    from Dynamic Dance Club
  • Joseph
    Frausto, Commissioner of Inter Club Council
  • Jessica
    Germata, Vice-President of ASCC, who assisted with writing the legislation
  • Portia
    Broome, President from S.P.I.C.E. Club

First Elementary School Visit by Initiative

Student volunteers for the Falcon Kids initiative and Cerritos College faculty visited William A. Orr Elementary School on Wednesdsay, Mar. 2.

This was the first elementary school visited within the Norwalk/La Mirada Unified School District.

The student volunteers present were President of ASCC Eduardo De La Rosa,Vice-President of ASCC Jessica Germata, Homecoming Queen Alveena Memon, Commissioner for Student Outreach Ilene Ochoa, President of iFalcon Club Kadie Gurley and club member from Dynamic Dance Club Alexis Luna.

Memon and Franco Falcon were the animators during the visit. She was the book reader for the students.

“I read to the children and made the book come alive. For example, I used hand expressions, my voice got a little deeper when a character was angry,” she said.

March 2 was the birthday of well-known American author, Theodor Seuss Geisel, of the popular children’s Dr. Suess series, so the children were given a copy of Green Eggs and Ham, t-shirts, signed postcards from Franco Falcon and a copy of Paula Pereira’s self-published book titled “How I Learned English: The Story of a Brave Mexican Girl”.

After visiting William A. Orr Elementary, Rodriguez now has offers from 12 different schools within the Norwalk/La Mirada Unified School District and now including Little Lake City School District.

“The outcome I heard from not only Cerritos College students who went [to William A. Orr elementary] but from the students was that it is the best opportunity to see college students and also be amazed by what college offers.

“My daughter has a little plush falcon and she’s kept it since I first started here, and she shows it off. Just to get a pencil or a little book from us, they’ll brag about these tangible things from a college. And there’s nothing better more to brag about than to brag about going to college,” he remarks.

The Future of Falcon Kids

Last Wednesday, approximately 50 students from New River Elementary and Foster Road Elementary schools visited for a tour of Cerritos College.

De La Rosa expressed how the initiative “will present volunteer and outreach opportunities and to be able to engage with the community and let them know how important college is.”

Rodriguez states that with the photos taken, the outcome it brought forth and testimonies received from students and the community, he will use and “maybe bring it up again into Senate.”

“Before it was a vision – now it’s on paper showing what we have done. So hopefully Senate can see that. I have a big passion for this. I think that our future is within our community.

“They are elementary students living in our community, not even in a five mile radius, they are most likely going to come to Cerritos College, whether we look at it or not, so might as well have open arms for them. You are welcome to come here – let us be your first choice,“ he said.