SOUTH COUNTY — Hartnell Community College District hosted a ceremony last Thursday at its King City Education Center to welcome 31 students from South County who are part of the second cohort of the Teacher Pathway Program.
The program is a unique collaboration with California State University Monterey Bay (CSUMB) and the Claire Giannini Fund. Family, friends, faculty and staff attended the Aug. 10 induction, along with Hartnell Trustees Manuel Osorio and Candi DePauw, who proudly witnessed the celebration.
Hartnell’s Dean of Academic Affairs Dr. Celine Pinet and CSUMB’s Chair of the Liberal Studies Department Dr. Deanne Perez-Granados welcomed those in attendance. Opening remarks were given by Hartnell’s Superintendent/President Dr. Willard Lewallen.
“It was my honor to do the opening remarks and let the students know how special they are and how much the community needs them,” Lewallen said. “Today, there are thousands of vacancies for teachers just in California and I am happy that Hartnell and CSUMB are stepping in to help train the next generation of educators.”
Counselors Sergio Diaz and Gabriela Lopez as well as Dr. Antonio Gallardo from CSUMB presented the awards to the students. The keynote speech was given by Sonia Aramburo, principal at Oak Avenue Elementary School in Greenfield. She shared her experience and love for the South County community.
Betsy Buchalter Adler, trustee for the Claire Giannini Fund, could not miss the event. She spoke passionately about the role of an educator and how they build a legacy for future generations.
“Education is the most important thing,” Adler said.
The Teacher Pathway Program facilitates the completion of an Associate Degree for Transfer in Elementary Teacher Education and seamless transfer to CSUMB’s Liberal Studies program in two years. Students in the program are guaranteed seats in major classes offered locally in South County.
Once each cohort is ready to transfer, CSUMB will offer classes needed for them to earn a bachelor’s degree at the King City Education Center.
Students benefit from specialized academic advising, financial stipends ($500) and technological support in the form of tablets. The program aims to fill a void with locally grown talent responding to a critical elementary teacher shortage both locally and at the statewide level.
The first cohort of 30 students, who began coursework in fall 2016, is on target to start studying at CSUMB in fall 2018. Students in the program reside primarily in San Lucas, King City, Greenfield, Soledad and Gonzales.