On May 2nd, I had the pleasure of attending the Tarde de Familia event. To be fair, I am very biased in that I was also on the planning group for the event (we refer to ourselves as Tarde de Familia Grupo Magnifico, but that is another story). If you aren’t familiar with the event, it was started four years ago in the Multicultural Studies department by department chair Dr. Rudy Jacobo.
The intention of the event is to welcome our Latino students and families to the campus and help them feel a sense of ownership. We want to ensure that our community members feel connected to the institution. The event hopes to inspire our community. Successful Latino professionals are invited to speak and share their histories of triumphs and hurdles they have had to overcome. These narratives help our families see that there are multiple routes to success. Finally, students network and make contact with presenters and members of the Palomar community. This allows for practical ideas, advice, and ongoing relationships.
This year’s speakers included members from the Palomar family including: Carmelino Cruz, (Noncredit Matriculation Assistant, ESL), Martha Martinez, (associate professor of Mathematics) & Assistant Superintendent / Vice President of Student Services, Adrian Gonzales. The event was hosted by Mireya Gutierrez-Aguero (HSI/STEM supervisor) who claims she is shy in these situations, but she really MC’d like a pro!
The presentations were all in Spanish, which is a wonderful way to connect to our broader community, but difficult for mostly monolingual deans to summarize (though it was clear the talks were very enjoyable). Fortunately, grupo magnifico members and allies Mireya, Celia Martinez (STEM Career Advisor) & Jessica Ambrocio (STEM Tutorial-specialist) provided a summary for us below.
Carmelino Cruz (who by the way could host his own talk show- he has the gift of voice!) spoke about his experience arriving to the United States from Mexico. He reminded parents who shared similar experiences that they arrived to “the country of opportunities” to provide a better standard of living for their children. He encouraged the parents to be the best advocates for their children, and to believe in their children’s dreams. He encouraged both parents and students to attend college.
Professor Martinez shared her experience about arriving to the United States from Mexico. Martinez described how she started her academic journey at Palomar College. She explained that Palomar College provided her with many opportunities, and now she is an Associate Professor of Mathematics as a way of giving back to students and the campus. Professor Martinez encouraged students to conduct study groups, to visit their professors during office hours, to seek support, and stay focused on their academic goals.
Vice President Adrian Gonzalez shared his personal experience about leaving Imperial Valley to attend UCLA. He emphasized how the transition was both difficult and exciting to him as a young man. He addressed the parents in Spanish, and he assured them everything would be okay with their children once they went off to college. Gonzalez addressed the students in English, and encouraged them to stay active in sports, to build relationships, and utilize the campus resources.
Overall, the common theme was that students must expand their comfort zones, challenge themselves academically, and take advantage of all of the opportunities that were available and that we are here for them.
After the presentations, people flooded our information tables and learned about many areas of the college including financial aid, AB-540/Dream Act assistance, registration, STEM, grant funded support, the Teaching and Learning Center, Preschool availability, student clubs (including Mecha & Puente), STAR tutoring, the ESL program, and more! It was a great match between inspiration and practical information in hopes of helping people take the next steps.
The event was a huge success and people seemed to enjoy the food and friendly atmosphere. Mireya’s homemade Horchata (which she brought in huge containers) was a perfect (and addictive) addition to a wonderful event. A HUGE thanks to everyone who helped put this on including our facilities office who helped us set this up and have it run professionally .
We are all looking forward to next semester’s event! Hasta Pronto!