May 12, 2017 – The Bakersfield City School District (BCSD) Family and Community Engagement (FACE) Department recognized its parent volunteers of the year at the annual FACE Honor Awards that took place on Friday, May 5, 2017 at Hodel’s Country Dining. The event recognized the accomplishments and contributions of a parent volunteer from each BCSD school nominated by the school site principals and staff. Parents were also chosen from the English Language Learners Services Department and Migrant Education Program for outstanding service to their schools as well as the District.
Each parent received a memory book with their picture along with the statement that was prepared by the school selecting them for this distinction. This year’s ceremony included Special Honor Awards for parents that attended and graduated from BCSD’s Parent University Program. These awards were based on recommendations from school site FACE Liaisons and are as follows:
Parent of the Year 2016-2017 – Laura Cruz, Pauly Elementary
Laura Cruz is a perfect example of an involved, engaged, and dedicated parent. She is active not only at her children’s schools, but in the Migrant Education, English Language Learners (ELL) and (FACE) Programs as well. Laura is a mother of four children. For more than 14 years, Laura has been very involved at Pauly by volunteering in her children’s classrooms and attending Parent Education sessions at the Parent Resource Center and Parent Cafes. She is a member of the School Site Council and the English Language Advisory Committee (ELAC). Laura serves as Chairperson of the Board of Migrant Regional Advisory Committee (RAC) and the District English Language Advisory Committee (DELAC) and is a Pauly representative for the District Advisory Committee (DAC). Furthermore, Laura is part of the Closing the Achievement Gap Committee, Multilingual Education Committee (MEC), and attends Board of Education Meetings regularly. She is a graduate of the Parents As Leaders, Loving Solutions and Parent University Programs. She will do whatever it takes to see her children succeed and believes that their success now has been due to her involvement with the school and the district.
Above and Beyond – Robert Lopez, Franklin Elementary
Robert Lopez is the parent of two students at Franklin Elementary School. He is committed to the academic success of his daughters, which motivated him to increase his involvement and participation at Franklin’s Parent Resource Center. Through his involvement, he has completed all FACE Learning Modules and has been recognized by the Parents As Leaders (PAL) Program. Robert has helped recruit outside resources and reached out to local businesses to gather donations for the various family engagement events. He is continuously motivating other parents to become more involved with their children’s education. He is a graduate of BCSD’s FACE Loving Solutions Program, and Parent University. Additionally, Mr. Lopez serves on BCSD’s District Culture and Climate Committee. He is also a member of the mentoring program at Franklin Elementary.
Commitment to Excellence – Soledad Benavides, Evergreen Elementary
When you think of a person who is committed, devoted and faithful to their child’s education, Soledad Benavides is someone that comes to mind. She has been involved with BCSD more than 10 years. Soledad has five children, all whom have attended Evergreen. She has been a member of Evergreen’s School Site Council and ELAC committees and attended parent education sessions. At the District, she has served as a member of the RAC, DELAC, and DAC committees. Additionally, she attends Board of Education Meetings regularly. Soledad attends all Parent Cafes, Workshops, Helping Hands, and Quarterly Education Nights at her school. She believes that all the time she has put in is an investment toward her children’s future.
Dedicated Service- Arlene Chavez, William Penn Elementary
Arlene Chavez made a commitment to take advantage of the opportunities being made available to her as a parent, and faithfully attended each and every one of the Parent University classes offered this school year. Arlene had shared with her FACE Liaison that as a single mom she was in the midst of battling a major health issue, and did not have transportation, but she wanted to continue making it a priority to attend Parent University. She was also graciously volunteering much of her time to help several agencies within the community. Arlene has always put her son first. She is always positively communicating with school staff to ensure that she is fully aware of how to best support his academic needs. Despite the numerous trials that Arlene has faced, she always manages to wear a bright smile and maintain a positive attitude. Dedication takes sacrifice and Arlene is the true definition of a stellar parent.
Making a Difference – Manuel Martin, Jefferson Elementary
Manuel Martin is an involved father of three Jefferson students. He is known for his caring ways as he never fails to lend a hand. His willingness to help, and his dedication to his community make him the perfect recipient for this special award. Manuel can be found at Jefferson Elementary on a daily basis interacting with staff, students and parents. He is very much appreciated as he constantly helps set up for numerous events, such as Family Picnics and Parent Cafes. He has built strong bonds with many Jefferson parents and is always willing to share his wisdom and provide advice. His sincere listening skills and positivity have helped other parents to get involved, especially fathers. Manuel is also very involved in his community volunteering his time to plan recreational activities, such as playing soccer. He motivates students to stay in school and goes out of his way to provide transportation for students who find it hard to get to school. His helpful influence is also felt with the elderly community members, who he occasionally assists with various tasks around their homes.
Most Inspirational Award – Ana Luna, Fletcher and Cato
Ana Luna is the perfect candidate for this award as we acknowledge her continuous dedication and growth. She can regularly be found at the DAC, DELAC and RAC meetings advocating for her children’s school sites. Her involvement does not stop there, as she has completed the following FACE Programs: Parents as Leaders, Loving Solutions, Parent Project, and most recently Parent University. Her involvement within BCSD serves as great inspiration to many parents as she is constantly sharing her positive experiences and encouraging parents to get involved. Ana has not only grown as a BCSD parent, but she has also succeeded as an individual. Ana came to us speaking little English but did not let that become a barrier and asked to be spoken to in English. Now Ana comes into the office speaking primarily English and has even served as a translator for parent sessions. She is currently serving as an intern at Wayside Elementary and is enrolled in Child Development classes.
Perseverance – Norma Camorlinga, Harris Elementary
According to the Webster’s Dictionary, perseverance is defined by a “continued effort to do or achieve something despite difficulties, failure, or opposition.” This is exactly what Norma Camorlinga represents. Norma has been an active and engaged parent at Harris Elementary since 2002. Since then, she has overcome difficult, life-changing events, all while staying involved at the school. Her husband worked very hard to support their family, but unfortunately lost his job, and with that, eventually lost everything he’d worked so hard for – including their home and the family car. While working to get back on their feet, Norma’s husband passed away. When she lost her husband, she felt like giving up. For the past four years, Norma has been fighting all her struggles on her own, but she faithfully continues to show up at all school events supporting her seven children, and doing what she can to help with their education. She inspires all her children to never give up and to be the best version of themselves. Her children have outstanding grade point averages all while participating in after school programs and extracurricular activities. Norma is a graduate of BCSD’s Loving Solutions, Parent University Programs, is a member of Harris’s ELAC and a DELAC representative. She is at every Parent Cafe, Parent Education Session and Quarterly Education night. Norma is an inspiration, not only to her children, but also to other mothers and their children, too. She shares her struggles and hardships as a tool to encourage other mothers to never give up.
Shining Star Award – Maria Acuna, Owens Primary School
Maria Acuna serves as a great example of what it means to be an engaged BCSD parent. She has children that attend two different schools within the District, and is involved at both sites. She attends a variety of classes in the Parent Resource Center, always with a smile on her face. Maria’s shining personality allows her to make other parents feel comfortable in expressing any comments and concerns they may have during the parent sessions. Owens Primary School appreciates Maria Acuna because she is kind to everyone she speaks to, stays informed, participates positively, is accountable, and so much more. Maria is effectively guiding her children to the path of success with her example, while making the process enjoyable for her family along the way.
BCSD congratulates and thanks all of its 2016-2017 parent volunteers.
For more pictures of the ceremony, CLICK HERE.