Buford Elementary Students Get a Glimpse of College Life
More than 50 students from Buford Elementary School in Lennox, Calif. got an early glimpse of college life. The group spent the night at LMU exploring the campus and the possibilities of going to college on June 14.
The overnight program is a brainchild of LMU alumni Efrain Pinedo ’96 and Ricardo Galvan ’95. As teachers at Buford Elementary School, they were concerned about the high dropout rates affecting the Lennox School District.
“The district serves a 99 percent Latino population, most of them come from low socioeconomic backgrounds. Most of our minority students, according to unfortunate statistics, will drop out of high school and not make it to college.” said Galvan. “Out of the 100 Latino students who start elementary, only eight of them graduate from college.”
The overnight has been taking place for the last nine years. It is meant to be fun and educational experience. GATE (Gifted and Talented Education) students, Associated Student Body students, who are active in school government, and other classroom groups participate in college workshops, career awareness panels, sports, talent shows and of course tours of the campus.
“We want the students to remember their day on a college campus, so it can encourage and keep them on the right path to college,” explained Galvan.
According to Jen Huix ’05, event specialist at LMU, the program is more like a partnership between the LMU and Buford Elementary. “It is great that we can reach out these kids while they are still so young,” said Huix. “To them it’s a fun night away from home, without their parents, but it really is about helping them become more aware and driven about their education.”
The program is not funded by the district and LMU’s Conferences and Event Scheduling subsidizes facility costs. Each year Galvan and other teachers engage in fundraising efforts with their students in order to put on the summer program.
“I hope our college overnight and classroom experience will improve the unfortunate statistics and obstacles our Latino and minority students face,” Galvan said. “All we ask of these students is that they stay focused in school and that after they graduate from college, they come back to their communities and give back, especially to encourage others to work towards college.”