California - San Diego
SIATech at San Diego Job Corps Center
1325 Iris Avenue
Imperial Beach, CA 91932
County: San Diego County
Tel: (619) 429-8500,
Principal: Ms. Sally Cohenour
The San Diego Job Corps Center is located in Imperial Beach, the most southwesterly city in the United States. The center is on land leased from the navy and is adjacent to a helicopter base. The center’s student enrollment is 665. Nineteen trades are offered to trainees including construction, culinary arts, health occupations and security.
The SIATech program is housed in a building with six classrooms and two offices. Many of our graduates pursue their careers in downtown San Diego or in one of its outlying communities.
One unique aspect of the SIATech program is that when students complete the SIATech curriculum, they present their Senior Portfolio to their classmates as a PowerPoint presentation. All SIATech classes, select Job Corps staff, family members and friends of the senior who is presenting are invited. Graduates are allowed to invite up to ten guests to the graduation ceremony. After the ceremony, everyone is invited to an open house in the classrooms where the students’ senior projects are displayed.
Sally Cohenour joined SIATech as principal of the San Diego school site in 2007. She comes to us with 18 years of educational experience. She has worked on the high school and middle school level and has administrative and counseling experience. Ms. Cohenour holds a B.A from Azusa Pacific., an M.S. from Azusa Pacific, and she has a PPS and Administrative Credential.
The Iditarod Project: A Scholastic Challenge
by Liliana Pineda
Here at SIATech San Diego new and innovative ways are always being found to teach and inspire students. It was with this in mind that the Iditarod project was conceived. Originally meant to encompass all subjects taught within SIATech, the Iditarod project would quickly spread all across the San Diego Job Corps Center. (Students are pictured with a special dog guest named Bronte.)
The Iditarod race itself was created to remind Alaskans of the history of Alaska and the Iditarod trail. 1967 marked the 100th anniversary of Alaska being a U.S. Territory after being purchased from Russia. Dorothy Page, chairman of the Wasilla-Knik Centennial Committee, conceived the idea of a sled dog race over the historically significant Iditarod Trail. It would not be long until the whole world would become fascinated with the Iditarod race. Each year mushers prepare their dog teams and plan out their strategies.
The world waits with bated breath in anticipation of the Iditarod; this year SIATech waited as well. For four weeks students studied every aspect of the Iditarod. A portion of each class offered by SIATech was dedicated to helping students analyze the race. Before the race took place each student picked a musher. Research would be done on her/his musher. Everything from past races to dog training would be taken into account. Each student then made a prediction on their musher's finishing time. Yet it would be more than musher ranking that would inspire these students.
Projects were done on a variety of subjects. Students would come to find a way to incorporate every interesting aspect of the race into their projects. Some students created a popup book on the history of the Iditarod. Propping these pages open is a scale model of the traditional dog sled used in the race. Students created this sled based on their own schematics as they studied the aerodynamic properties of sled dog racing.
Presentations would also be given on every aspect of sled dog racing; dog training, the diet of mushers and their dogs, the medical dangers faced on the trail, animal cruelty, feminism in racing and the different breeds of dogs used are just a few of the well thought out studies that were presented.
Each teacher as well took it upon themselves to incorporate the Iditarod into their lessons. An exciting science class was devoted to an Iditarod murder mystery. "Blood on the Tracks" was created to study forensic sciences. Students would be in charge of solving a fictional murder by analyzing different evidence left behind. Suspect profiles were created, hair, fibers, blood and shoe prints were analyzed by each student. History classes were used to study the amazing story of the Iditarod trail. English classes were spent researching the cultural significance of woman in the Iditarod and every free moment was spent creating imaginative power point presentations.
More than just an intellectual pursuit, the Iditarod challenge served as a chance for fun and frivolity. This was perhaps best highlighted by our very popular guest, Bronte. Brought in by the lovely Jen O'Connor, Bronte is a giant malamute, one of the breeds popularly used in the Iditarod. He served as a delightful example of several studies done by students on the Iditarod dog breeds.
The most fundamental lesson involved in the Iditarod project was perhaps its most basic one. The techniques SIATech teaches you can be applied to anything that interests you. Learning, it taught us, can be fun. Students of SIATech not only walked away with a wealth of knowledge about the Iditarod but with a new found appreciation of the learning process. We look forward to next year's Iditarod but more importantly many of us now look forward to a life time of learning.
Liliana Pineda is a student at SIATech at San Diego Job Corps Center. Thank you to instructor Sara Lewis and Principal Sally Cohenour for sending in her essay.
SIATech San Diego Recognizes Students of the Month
by Sally Cohenour
Pictured are students and staff from SIATech at San Diego Job Corps Center during their February Student of the Month Luncheon.
Students are selected by each one of our subject area staff members monthly. The chosen students are honored in front of their peers at an all student and staff assembly at the end of the month.
In addition, the chosen students are invited to a luncheon where they are fortunate to bring another student guest. The other student is often introduced to our program for the first time which is a fantastic opportunity to share what is happening at our school. These conversations often result in the student guest coming to SIATech, too.
Congratulations to our most recent group of Students of the Month!
Sally Cohenour is principal of SIATech at San Diego Job Corps.
Gallup Identifies Three SIATech Campuses as High Hope Schools
For the past four years SIATech has participated in the Gallup Student Poll. Every SIATech, MYcroSchool, and NEWCorp campus participates along with students nationwide. In 2012-2013, nearly a half million students across the country took the poll. The poll surveys students' hope, well-being, and engagement. Gallup has identified these metrics to be indicative of student success.
Recently, Gallup announced that three SIATech schools surveyed among the most hopeful schools in the country. SIATech Homestead and SIATech Jacksonville in Florida along with SIATech San Diego received notification that they were "high hope schools." Out of the thousands of schools that took the poll, only 192 schools received this notification. SIATech is honored that three of its schools were part of this small cohort of schools that inspire hope in its students.
The SIATech San Diego staff celebrated their Gallup Student Poll "High Hope" Distinction Award (pictured below). As part of the recognition, schools were asked to nominate their "Most Hopeful Teacher." In San Diego, Sapna Iyer (third from right) was nominated as their "Most Hopeful Teacher in America Award." This teacher was nominated for changing lives by believing that every student can have a better future and by striving to meet each student's individual goals and needs! Also, Ms. Iyer is able to promote student learning and achievement and inspire them to want a better life. If Ms. Iyer becomes a finalist she will be interviewed by the selection committee. The award also comes with a $2,500 cash prize.
Our schools' capacity to inspire hope, well-being, and engagement is greatly expanded through our partnerships with Job Corps and other agencies that provide wraparound services to students. Through this teamwork our students receive numerous opportunities to get their lives back on-track to a lifetime of success. Thank you to all our sites, staff, and students for participating in the Gallup Student Poll.
View an executive summary of SIATech's results as well as the detailed SIATech results on the Gallup Student Poll.
Teacher Training at SIATech San Diego
By Tom MacCabe
In the fall semesterSIATech San Diego special needs students received a major boost in services. Two members of the current SIATech staff demonstrated their commitment to being lifelong learners.
ITAs Troy Machado andAlison Trant (pictured on either side of the student in the middle) have both completed Special Education student teaching on the San Diego site.
Mr. Machado and Ms. Trant have provided Woodcock Johnson testing, written IEPs, and ran IEP meetings. This was done in addition to maintaining their daily teaching tasks. They have been called upon to perform demonstration lessons with special needs emphasis for their supervising university professor.
Participant Mr. Machado said, "Completing my special education student teaching at SIATech High School was a great learning experience. Having hands-on experience...gave me a 'Real Learning for Real Life' experience that I could never have gained in a traditional classroom."
Mr. Machado and Ms. Trant have worked with students in all aspects of the students needs. They have become familiar with Educational Psychology Evaluations, IEP annuals, IEP triennials, transition plans, behavior support plans, and so on. They are prepared, ready, willing, and able to collaborate to ensure proper and compliant implementation of student focused IEPs.
Having teachers “in training” keeps the site current with the best practices of the day. Fellow resource teacher Sara Lewis, the students on their caseload, and I have enjoyed having the support of these two fine teachers.
Mr. Machado wrote, "By receiving direct and constructive feedback from my mentors, I was able to reflect upon my teaching practices and make improvements for the future. Overall, thanks to Mr. Tom, Ms. Sara, and SIATech High School, my student teaching experience has been a huge success!"
Working with colleagues Mr. Machado and Ms. Trant has truly been a pleasure.
Tom MacCabe is a special education teacher at SIATech at San Diego Job Corps Center.
College is Not Just a Dream...It's the Plan
by Beverly Pendleton
Being a dropout recovery student, the title "college student" wasn't something I thought I would ever be able to consider. Dreams of success, community involvement, and making a difference are now possibilities for me.
Initially, I became overwhelmed by just visiting a few community college websites. I had no clue what I wanted to study, which school would I attend, and or even what is financial aid? I honestly had no clue or no direction.
When University Path, UPATH, appeared on my announcement portal, I jumped at the opportunity. UPATH is a college readiness group aimed at inspiring SIATech students to enroll and stay in college. Through this cohort, we learned how to plan and organize our options for college.
With the assistance or our college advisors, Mr. Howie, Ms. Sapna, and Mr. Troy, we went on three college tours to San Diego State University, San Diego City College, and Southwestern College. These experiences allowed us to see the similarities and differences of community colleges and universities as well as the programs offered at each one.
In January 2013, I am proud to say I will begin my prerequisites' coursework at Southwestern College and then plan to transfer into the nursing program at SDSU. I now know how to pay for my books, tuition, lab fees, and any other finances with various grants.
Without the help of UPATH, none of this would have been happening….at least this soon.
Beverly Pendleton is a student at SIATech at San Diego Job Corps Center.
SIATech San Diego at Asian Film Festival Youth Day
by Samantha Carrasco
For the second year in a row students at SIATech San Diego participated in the Asian Film Festival Youth Day.
Each year during the San Diego Asian Film Festival, Youth Day is held for hundreds of students from around the county. According to their website the mission is to screen films "to culturally educate, enlighten, and enhance students' film literacy skills."
This year they screened a variety of student films, short professional films, and animated shorts. Also, we had the opportunity to ask question to the filmmakers about making movies and getting started in a career in film.
The Asian festival, in my opinion, was incredible experience. They not only presented to us great films, but also great art. The art to express what you feel and see and to share it with people is unique.
The film I loved the most was titled Bleached. It was the story of a first generation Filipino teenager who was the daughter of a beauty queen. The film set in San Francisco was a dark comedy that examined the pressures teens have to look a certain way. In this case the main character was felt pressure to bleach her skin. This film spoke to me, because family pressure to be something you aren't is a common occurrence in some families.
I enjoyed the messages behind every film and the comedy as well, but there were also some films that brought about the feeling of tears that wanted to escape me. I also enjoyed the fact that they told us how we could make our own films so that we could also express ourselves through the art of film making.
Overall the film festival has inspired me to look at the world as a way of inspiration, to be more creative in my daily life, and my passion for art. Thank you for the opportunity to be inspired and amazed.
Samantha Carrasco is a student at SIATech at San Diego Job Corps Center.
SIATech San Diego's 1960s Decade Project is a Hit
By Alejandro Tavizon
As a student of SIATech San Diego, I had the opportunity to participate in the "1960's Decade Project." This fun and informative project took place over the month of October.
It kicked off with a launch party where about 35 students met in the English classroom for instructions on what we would be doing throughout the month. Our teachers from English, Social Studies, and Science collaborated in presenting an overview of parallels between our present time and the 1960s (socially, scientifically, politically, and artistically).
The teachers discussed the features and activities to complete our project and outlined "credit" available in English, Science, Social Studies, and Senior Projects. The project consisted of choosing a character from the 1960s to create the "Big Head" project; doing research, a primary document analysis, an art analysis, and a historical protest/event analysis; attending at least one of four films; and writing a film review. Project extension options included a decade editorial and a science research paper.
When my English teacher asked me to "Choose a person from the 60s to do research," I thought of many musicians. After doing a review in my memory of how many musicians I know from that decade, I chose Eric Clapton. The "Big Head" project included different features. I had to start first with finding a good picture of my character. After deciding which picture I would choose for my head, the research started. On the back of my "head," I had to have information about my character, including birth and death dates, vocation/life calling, a quote, and interesting facts about him. I thought this was a fun way to learn about Eric Clapton's life work.
The "1960s Decade Project" concluded with a closing party and our final "Big Head" presentation. (Pictured at right are staff members Carole Fisher and Salley Cohenour.) At the party, everyone who participated tried to impersonate their characters. Everyone — teachers and students — played their "Big Head" role and we all learned about each other's character through a trivia game where we had to match people with facts. This game was really hilarious and educational, especially because we got to watch our teachers dressed up as their characters (just imagine your teacher with a big giant afro head of Angela Davis) while sharing information.
After watching films every Thursday in my Social Studies class, doing a film review about Forrest Gump, doing a lyrics analysis of the song "Sunshine of Your Love," and all the research I did about Eric Clapton and the 1960s, by the end of the month all our work and effort was worth it.
This project helped me to view the sixties from another perspective. I realized that the sixties decade was not only about Woodstock, hippies, and drugs. This decade was a huge change for America because of the Civil Rights Movements, Feminist Movement, assassinations, Vietnam War, and war protests.
Alejandro Tavizon is a student at SIATech at San Diego Job Corps Center.
What's New at SIATech San Diego? iPads!
by Beverly Pendleton
SIATech San Diego now has iPads available for
student use. As a Job Corps student I appreciate that SIATech has always provided the technology, the tools, needed not only for academic research but also to connect with employment opportunities, colleges and financial aid. The new iPads have provided students with an internet connected, quick research tool.
My team used our new iPads during our Academic Pentathlon while the competing teams dissected frogs. The team first “dissected” a frog’s likeness on the iPad to learn the interior parts of the frog then the team dissected a real frog. The iPad guided us and helped learn the body parts of our real frogs.
I found the iPad to be useful during “internet down” times; many of my peers used the iPads during the “Olympic Games Project,” helping them research countries and athletes.
I anticipate using one of the iPads for research for the cross-curriculum 1960’s Project that we are working on this month. I am researching the great environmentalist Rachel Carson for this assignment. We are also using the iPads for accessing college information during college prep UPATH program.
The ease of use makes it fun and exciting to “look around.” One site I found is “makeuseof.com,” the website index provides a directory of Apps available. Some of my favorite include: Best iPad Apps, evernotes, understoodit and if you are interested in some Real Learning for Real Life check out 99hacks for life.
Thanks SIATech, for keeping us up to date with emerging technology.
Beverly Pendleton is a student at SIATech at San Diego Job Corps Center.
SIATech at San Diego Job Corps Center Holds Academic Pentathlon
by Sally Cohenour
SIATech charter high schools hold classes beyond a standard high school's year. The last day of the school year for SIATech is June 29 and classes get back in session at the end of July. To give the hard working San Diego students a chance for some learning fun, the staff is holding an Academic Pentathlon for the last couple days of school.
Staff spent several weeks preparing for the June 28-29 series of events. All are invited to check our students out as they academically challenge each other on the California State Content Standards. Friday morning will be one of the best times to stop by the SIATech English classroom to check out the action.
The preliminary rounds of the Pentathlon kicked off on a beautiful sunny morning of Thursday, June 28. From 8:00 - 11:00 a.m., our Pentathlon teams did “physical challenges” that involve teamwork and communication as part of the physical part of the academic competition. This was held on the Job Corps Center's baseball field. After lunch, the competition resumed indoors for more academic activities.
Thanks so much for your support of this activity and I hope you do get an opportunity to see our SDJC students shine!
In other SIATech news, congratulations to student Prince Shamambawho was awarded a $500 scholarship! The Strong Futures, Strong Communities High School Scholarship was given to Prince by the Kiwanis Club of Imperial Beach/South Bay. Read the article "Job Corps Student Receives Kiwanis Club Scholarship."
Sally Cohenour is the principal of SIATech San Diego.
The Perfect Score for the "Perfect" Student
by April Herzog
Two SIATech students performed exceptionally well on the latest California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE). Out of 450 points, SIATech San Jose student Jacob Montiel scored a 445 on the English. The SIATech San Diego student profiled below scored a perfect score of 450 on the Math portion. Congratulations to these students and all the students who passed the CAHSEE!
Felipe Nuno, a SIATech San Diego student is the kind of student every teacher loves to have. He studies hard, comes to class on time, and is always polite and respectful. In short, he's practically perfect – at least we, the SIATech San Diego
staff, think so! And to prove himself worthy of the title "perfect," he took the California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE) for the first time this February, and received a perfect score on the Math portion.
We expected Felipe to do well because he is a good math student, but we never expected him to receive a perfect score. When he turned his math answer document and test booklet in to the proctor at the end of the exam day, he mentioned that he was trying for a perfect score, but that there was just one question he was not sure about. Just one?! I wonder how many students could say such a thing. And though it might sound like he was making a haughty statement, Felipe has never shown himself to be anything but humble.
Born in the United States, at three years old Felipe and his twin sister moved with their Mexican parents to Guadalajara, Mexico. As Felipe grew up, he realized the value of education and worked hard to excel in school. He decided that he wanted to be a doctor and studied hard in Mexico.
A couple of years ago, Felipe's parents began to fall on hard times economically. Felipe began a part-time job so that he could help pay for his tuition to school. It became evident that even his job was not enough. Felipe felt great concern for his family and was worried his own future was in jeopardy. At only 17 years old, Felipe decided to move to the United States to seek independence and to further his education.
Felipe phrased it as not wanting to be a "charge" or a burden on his family anymore. He and his father traveled to San Diego and slept nights on Felipe’s uncle’s floor. Felipe learned of Job Corps and wanted to enroll. The process to enter Job Corps took much longer than Felipe thought it would, but he reflects now on the time spent waiting as positive, a time he allowed himself to fall in love with San Diego – his native home.
The waiting to get into Job Corps and later SIATech gave him time to practice his English, which he was eager to do. It also solidified his desire to not give up, and to not be "the person that still lives with his parents," as Felipe candidly expressed in his final essay in English class.
His waiting paid off when he got accepted to Job Corps a couple of months later. He said goodbye to his father, who traveled home to Mexico, and began his time here with gratitude.
In the few months since coming to Job Corps and starting high school at SIATech, Felipe’s teachers have taken a liking to him and his near-perfect attitude. He entered our classes with a determination to do well in everything. When he began his Math CAHSEE prep class, he told his tutor, Sara Arredondo, that he wanted to shoot to score in the 400s on the test. And then he did…way into the 400s!
When we asked Felipe what helped him to get such high scores on the CAHSEE tests, he said, "More than anything, the motivation of having teachers support you and the drive to succeed is what helped me pass my CAHSEE so well. I want to tell other students not to stop studying because it’s what pulls you forward in life, not just because they tell you to, but for yourself. When the road gets tough, find what motivates you and keep moving forward."
Felipe is a hard worker who is confident he can accomplish whatever he sets his mind to. He has already completed several classes and is currently working on his final class. Felipe was just transferred out of his CAHSEE English prep class last week, since he passed the ELA portion of the CAHSEE in February, as well.
His English CAHSEE tutor, Katelin Trant, told me he was a wonderful student, often looking for opportunities to teach other students in the class. She said that he has even found errors in the ELA CAHSEE study guide! And incidentally, though English is not Felipe’s first language, he received a score of 414, which is quite a good score – not quite a perfect score, but I guess something has to keep Felipe humble!
I had assumed that Felipe has been learning English for years, but as I interviewed him for this piece, he explained that he only started learning English a year and a half ago. And in fact, until he arrived in the U.S. five months ago, he had really only studied English from books and in early schooling, but never had much practice speaking it at all. Wow. Back to being perfect, again!
Felipe will graduate in the SIATech San Diego June graduation ceremony. Felipe says, "My career goals are between two choices: a doctor and an engineer." He is currently in the SIATech University Path program which is our after-school college-bound club that helps students with college preparations like the FAFSA. His next step is to go to a local junior college, and take part in their Transfer Admission Guarantee (TAG) program which will guarantee his entrance to either San Diego State University or UCSD in two years if he stays on track, and we think he will, knowing his track record so far.
It has been a joy to be a part of Felipe’s journey here at SIATech. Each day, he is happy to be here and it shows in his always-smiling countenance. And that’s a good feeling, because when people smile at us, it makes us want to smile back. So, we’re doing a lot of smiling around here.
We wish him well in his future and we know that whether he decides to be a doctor, an engineer, or whatever else may come up, that he will do exceedingly well and grace others with his presence in the process.
April Herzog is a testing specialist at SIATech San Diego.
Central Office Staff Participate in Career Day at SIATech at San Diego Job Corps Center
by Kendra Ladrido
The SIATech central offices are located in Oceanside, CA. Sometimes staff can feel disconnected from the students since they are not seen on a day-to-day basis. To help staff members create a deepened understanding of our school sites and students, Learning Support Specialist Greg Cohen and team pioneered a Career Day. This inaugural event brought several central office staff members to the SIATech San Diego site in September.
Everyone that I talked with before, during, and after Career Day told me that they thought it was very important for both staff and the students. Visiting the school site made me realize that the work I do behind the scenes really does impact our students. I enjoyed meeting new SIATech San Diego staff members who we have only been able to email with or talk with over the phone. This was huge for building relationships.
The day made a difference for the students as well. Director of Network Operations Dave Davisrecounted his interactions with a student who was studying the Computer Tech trade. While on the school site a technical issue arose, and Dave invited the studentAdrian Evans to troubleshoot the problem with him. Administrative Assistant Pricilla Perez commented that she noticed the student light up as he was selected to participate to help troubleshoot the central network issue. And, the mentor-student duo was able to successfully solve the issue.
As always, I was incredibly impressed by our SIATech teachers. They were always on the move. They are visibly present and ready to assist and instruct. I noticed they have a good sense of when a student might need some help or redirection.
Our group from the central office bonded on the drive to and from the site. We were all in awe on the drive back to the office and feeling very proud of our work here at SIATech. In addition, the students were very interested in the details of my job here in the central office, and that is something that I'll remember for a long time.
SIATech San Diego Students Win College Scholarships
Four students from SIATech at San Diego Job Corps were recently awarded $1,000 scholarship from San Diego Scholarship Fund. They are: Jorge Suarez, Elijah Suh, Jose Mendoza, and Colt Carter. These students were selected out of a pool of 300 applicants. The scholarship committee visited the center and was impressed by the campus, the students, and the program overall.
SIATech and Job Corps Celebrate their Student Color Guard and Charter School Week at the San Diego Padres Baseball Game
by Sally Klein
SIATech at San Diego Job Corps was recognized by the California Charter Schools Association on May 6, at San Diego Petco Park during a special pre-game ceremony. SIATech was honored by CCSA on the baseball field prior to the first pitch. Representing SIATech on the field was the SIATech San Diego teacher of the year Maya Getsova.
As if that isn't exciting enough, students from the San Diego Job Corps Center were also the color guard for the game's national anthem. These include Oliver Garces, Maria Sandoval, Christian Zavalza, Rosa Valdez, and Jesus Quintero. These students are studying the homeland security trade, and Oliver, Maria, and Christian are SIATech students.
Along with the thousands of baseball fans in attendance, more than 175 Job Corps/SIATech students, staff, and friends of SIATech were at the stadium cheering them on!
Hope Hits SIATech San Diego
by Eduardo Leon
SIATech students are always looking for ways to get involved in after school activities to meet other students and make school more fun. We decided to create the SIATech Hope Film Festival. Our film festival took place in our social studies classroom. The film festival was a coordinated by a group of nine students.
Each student had to do a specific job such as curator, marketing, and house management. Our plan was to screen three movies that were connected by the theme of hope. Every film took place after school. After the films, we had a speaker or discussion about the movie. We created a program that was distributed to all the moviegoers. All three films were near sell outs.
For the final film we acquired 20 tickets to see a documentary called a Small Act at the Jewish Film Festival. The Film Club staff and 10 students who attended the previous three films were rewarded with the opportunity. Overall, the festival presented films from different cultures which expanded our knowledge of the world we live in.
The Hope Film Festival was a great experience for all involved. We learned how to be organized and how to be responsible for our tasks. It was not child’s play; it was reality. We had to create a show. For example, we installed a theater style red curtain, placed a red carpet at the front door, set up rows of chairs, and created trailers for upcoming films just like a real theater.
What really made us come after school was the exciting idea of making a film festival for all of the SIATech students, not just for us. It feels awesome to see other students coming to watch movies in our classroom.
Working in this kind of project actually made us change our perspective about high school. Now we know that we can be as creative as we want and our teachers will support us.
It was just a great experience that made us feel more inspired and also made us realized that working with different students is not boring. It totally made school more interesting for us.
If you have more questions about how to get involved or support the film festival feel free to email us email@example.com.
Eduardo Leon is a student at SIATech at the San Diego Job Corps Center who was the Assistant Director of the festival. He expects to graduate in Summer 2011. The film project was led by teacher Luke Sponsler.
Stefan is a San Diego native. Prior to entering Job Corps and enrolling in the SIATech high school program, Stefan said he was just sitting at home. Personal and social distractions kept him from doing his best in the previous schools that he attended, and he commented that his parents did not pay much attention to his education.
Within the SIATech program, Stefan has done well. Some of his favorite things about SIATech are his English class and the school's helpful teachers. Stefan feels his future is "bright because I notice I have a lot of potential if I apply myself." Stefan is on track to graduate from high school in March 2009. After graduation, Stefan plans to work in the welding trade that he has learned through his Job Corps training. Click here to read Stefan's poem, Losing Doesn't Define a Loser.
Young Legislators Internship Program at San Diego Job Corps Center
by Frank Buttino
"I am interested in how the government works and asked a lot of questions in my Social Studies class at Job Corps," Dawnyetta Garrett stated. "My SIATech instructor told me about the Young Legislators Internship Program that other students on center were involved in and I decided to apply."
"SIATech San Diego established this program last year and it is designed to establish a connection between our students and local, state, and federal legislative offices," advised SIATech Social Studies Instructor Luke Sponsler. "Students learn the process and mechanics of local government and forge relationships that could prove beneficial for life after graduation. They learn workplace skills and a deeper understanding of the political process. Students are exposed to a wide range of careers and it fits with SIATech’s mission of Real Learning for Real Life ®."
Students undertook a rigorous selection process and were interviewed by representatives from U.S. Congressman Bob Filner, Congresswoman Susan A. Davis, California Assemblywoman Mary Salas, and California State Senator Denise Ducheny’s offices. During the past year, ten Job Corps students served as interns at these government offices.
"Dawnyetta is our third Job Corps intern and they have all been great," advised Jessica Gomez, Community Representative for Congressman Filner. "We were looking for interns with computer skills and all three students were in the Computer Career Technical Training program at Job Corps," she added, "and they have helped us enormously."
"This has been a wonderful experience for me," Dawnyetta stated. "I’ve learned a lot about the government and saw how it’s ‘people to people’ at Congressman Filner’s office. I even got a chance to see First Lady Michele Obama in person. I was standing very close to her and that’s something I’ll never forget."
Frank Buttino is the Business Community Liaison for the San Diego Job Corps Center. Thanks to Sally Klein, principal of SIATech San Diego, for forwarding this story.
SIATech Student Shares her Story
Amanda Dillard's Final Essay
Independent is a word one uses quite frequently. Following no one else’s rules EXCEPT that of your own, being your own boss, doing exactly what you want when you want too. These to some would be called independent, for me it is so much more than that. It’s the satisfaction of knowing that you alone accomplished something with no one probing you to do so. The choice to decide what is best for your own being. The initiative you take, persevering to push yourself forward through every hard ship and struggle.
As a child I was closely monitored in every way possible. I was forced to conform to my father’s standards. When I say every way, I mean EVERY WAY. I was not allowed to listen to the radio, I was not allowed to watch the television, I was not allowed to spend time outside of the house, unless at school, I was forced to go to bed at exactly eight. The list could go on and on, but you understand my point, I had no freedom.
Any thing less than expected was unacceptable. There were many days when I would escape into my tree house. It was my get away. I would sketch and paint on the walls of far away places, which only existed within my imagination, places of serenity and peace. I could only escape for so long however; you see, my father’s voice was of a great volume and abruptly took me out of my place of comfort.
I was a kid, coping with my restrained environment, though I had a little brother and an older sister, neither one could understand my perplexity. I had this on going need to be who I was and express to the world every idea and creation, which inhabited my brain, almost all the time. I could only keep silent and wait for my time to come. I was talented. I could sing, dance, and relate with any person that I came into contact with. I took lessons of sign language and arts in the private school I was enrolled in. I wrote proficiently, and this has carried into my adult hood. Unfortunately, I was not allowed to thrive in these areas as a child.
Feeling so trapped by all the barriers my father had set upon my life, led me to “act out”. At first my parents decided I needed therapy. They said I was a troubled child, I was reprimanded constantly. The negativity present in my household began to eat me up inside. This repetition which I experienced made me cold, rebellious, and depressed. When a human is not allowed to breathe, he will suffocate and die. This same concept pertains to someone’s mentality. If some one is put down, told they are nothing, punished for mundane things which occur due to the inevitable learning process of a human being; they will start to believe these things to be true and the passionate flame within them will eventually burn out.
When I was sixteen, my flame burned out. I tried to commit suicide. Obviously, my attempt failed. After coming home from the psychiatric ward that I was sent to, I felt that I had obtained a new state of mind. However, the same psychological abuse still existed within the house. Throughout high school I would ditch classes to smoke pot or hang out with my boyfriend to alleviate myself from some of the stress occurring at home. This only made matters worse. After tenth grade I moved in with my boyfriend and stopped talking with my family altogether. Because I depended on drugs to get me out of my misery, this was only a temporary fix to deeper underlying issues. Seeing that I had not dealt with the past issues with my father, my relationship failed miserably. I needed to run. That was my first thought, just run and don’t look back.
This is what had led me to California; I am here to claim my independence. I never really dealt with the issues at home, but I have accepted my father the way he is, and
I now see he had my best interest in mind; though he didn’t know how to show it. I am currently dealing with the psychological and emotional damage he did, I am not ashamed to say this.
Everyone goes through trials in their lives which weaken them, but after the initial weakening, makes them stronger. As much as I wish that things had been different, I don’t spend time dwelling upon it. It is what it is and I am now in the process of healing. Through therapy and pushing myself to be the best person that I can be; I hope to be free from my past one day. I know that day will come. Healing takes time, I am only nineteen and I am grateful I have been able to face this occurrence so that I may grow and mature from it. I hope to motivate others to do the same.
I will have a purpose in this world, I will be independent and free to be who I am. I won’t stop trying until I do so.
Thank you to Amanda Dillard for sharing her writings. And, thank you to SIATech San Diego Instructors Sara Lewis and Tom MacCabe for their commendable work with Amanda and their other students.
California Assemblymember Mary Salas Gave Speech at San Diego SIATech Graduation
On January 29, Mary Salas attended the SIATech San Diego graduation of 70 students. Salas also honored the three students who served as legislative interns during the past semester. One of those interns is SIATech graduate Daniel Tate, pictured with Mary Salas. While many legislators recognize the importance of dropout recovery, Salas has gone the extra mile of directly providing work experience to these at-risk students. The SIATech interns provide important insight to the needs of communities impacted by high unemployment and dropout rates. Mary Salas has recognized that unique perspective. Her internships for SIATech students enabled their participation in public service and increased her capacity to reach the broad range of community needs in her District.
SIATech looks forward to continuing the legislative internship program in San Diego as well as increasing the number of internship opportunities for its students at other school sites.
More San Diego SIATech News
California Assemblywoman Lori Saldana (CA 76th Assembly District) toured the San Diego Job Corps Center on December 8, 2009. Gerald Nicdao introduces her in the math classroom.