Despite the early time, Santa Barbara Partners in Education met Wednesday morning to provide an inspiring look at what’s working to prep South Coast students for successful careers.
Hundreds of people packed into a ballroom at the Bacara Resort & Spa for the 31st Annual Career Education Awards Breakfast, during which about 70 high school students were recognized.
Michelle Magnusson, the group’s program development and accountability manager, said Wednesday’s gathering was the largest turnout ever for the event.
“This is a model, I believe, that’s one of the best in the country,” she said, adding that she has continued to advocate for federal funding for partnerships such as Partners in Education.
Magnusson then took the stage and outlined the ways that Partners in Education has worked to help students become career ready. She said career days have been implemented in all local junior high schools before the beginning of high school enrollment. The group is also working to organize a corresponding resource fair for students next year.
Magnusson said Tradart Foundation volunteers have been key at those career day events, giving students the opportunity to operate power tools and even drive a crane around school parking lots.
Freshman seminar courses at Santa Barbara City College are another strategy the group is spearheading. The courses allow each freshman to create a web-based, interactive 10-year plan for his or her own career path. Teachers and administrators will have access to the plan as well.
Partners in Education also continues to support various programs and academies in local high schools, and two men heavily involved with those programs spoke Wednesday.
Gerardo Cornejo, principal at Carpinteria High School, discussed the school’s culinary arts program, which gives students a chance to try their hand in the kitchen. Thanks to a $1.3 million remodel of the school’s kitchen, students were moved out of the dated formica-lined home economics classroom and into a state-of-the-art kitchen workspace.
“They can actually experience what’s out there in the real world,” Cornejo said.
Russell Granger, who teaches auto shop at San Marcos High School, spoke about the successes he has seen in his program. Students who sign up for shop enter a rigorous program that teaches them the basics, progressing until the students actually rebuild an engine on their own. Problem solving is key, he said. The school also partners with SBCC’s auto program and offers dual enrollment for high school students.
Granger showed a trio of inspiring videos, each spotlighting a shop student that has used the program to secure a job or an internship. Henry Roman was one student who spoke about how the program helped him secure an internship, and eventually land a job at Clark Motors.
The students recognized at Wednesday’s breakfast were
» Carpinteria High School: Betzabeth (Betzy) Ayala, Eduardo Cardona, Romelia del Rocio Jimenez Davalos, Heidy Santos, Arizve Torres and Ruby Vazquez
» Dos Pueblos High School, Career Technical Education: Robert Kojima, Laura Loomis, Mary’elizabeth Madrigal Craddick, Emmaly Read, Javier Rubio, Christian Saxon and Shane Williams
» Dos Pueblos High School Partners In Education Internship Program: Sarah Bernal, Karianna Farmer-Hubbard, Trina Garcia, Estefani Mendoza, Heidy Miguel, Susana Murillo and Kelly Salazar
» El Puente High School: Edgar Lara and Liliana Hernandez
» La Cuesta High School: Daniela Cobian, Carlos Fernandez, Jada-Michelle Garcia, Luis Gomez and Austria Lagunas
» Olive Grove Charter School: Choyee Sayre
» San Marcos High School, Career Technical Education: Yolanda Botello, Luis Cardenas, Casey Gillett, Baback Nabidavoodi and Karen Reyes
» San Marcos High School, Partners in Education: Jasmine Carbajal, Andres Gomez, Erika Gutierrez, Monica Herrera, Shannon Lol, Vanessa Mendiola, Rozelle Nebran, Jessica Reyes, Henry Roman, Alicia Speer-Mesa, Sonia Trujillo and Nicolette Vasquez
» Santa Barbara High School, Career Technical Education: Jenny Aguilar, Sierra Alvarado, Tally Dajo Darsonval, Alyssa Espinosa, Nick Humbel, Daniel J. McKinney and Bruce Nordstrom
» Santa Barbara High School, Partners in Education: Jenica Balderaz, Thalia Chavez, Michaela Ford, Nora Gazga, Edward Harding, Carol Hernandez, Michael Mora, Lizette Ozuna, Coraima Paredes, Brandon Robinson, Cecilia Romero, Edna Sanchez, Ibet Santos, Aranzazu Tapia and Francisco Trinidad de la Mora
» Santa Barbara High School SBUSD/SBCC: Victoria Cowan and Arturo Jimenez