Canyon High School graduation 2018

  • Grant Han celebrates during the Canyon High School graduation ceremonies at Fred Kelly Stadium in Orange on Thursday, June 14, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Grant Han celebrates during the Canyon High School graduation ceremonies at Fred Kelly Stadium in Orange on Thursday, June 14, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Graduate Jaden Auger poses for photos with her sister Mackenzie after the Canyon High School graduation ceremonies at Fred Kelly Stadium in Orange on Thursday, June 14, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Graduate Jaden Auger poses for photos with her sister Mackenzie after the Canyon High School graduation ceremonies at Fred Kelly Stadium in Orange on Thursday, June 14, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

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  • Graduates wait to enter Fred Kelly Stadium for the Canyon High School graduation ceremonies in Orange on Thursday, June 14, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Graduates wait to enter Fred Kelly Stadium for the Canyon High School graduation ceremonies in Orange on Thursday, June 14, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Diplomas wait to be handed out during the Canyon High School graduation ceremonies at Fred Kelly Stadium in Orange on Thursday, June 14, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Diplomas wait to be handed out during the Canyon High School graduation ceremonies at Fred Kelly Stadium in Orange on Thursday, June 14, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Hala Abusham celebrates after the Canyon High School graduation ceremonies at Fred Kelly Stadium in Orange on Thursday, June 14, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Hala Abusham celebrates after the Canyon High School graduation ceremonies at Fred Kelly Stadium in Orange on Thursday, June 14, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Families cheer for their students during the Canyon High School graduation ceremonies at Fred Kelly Stadium in Orange on Thursday, June 14, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Families cheer for their students during the Canyon High School graduation ceremonies at Fred Kelly Stadium in Orange on Thursday, June 14, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • ASB President Kyle Bui addresses the Class of 2018 during the Canyon High School graduation ceremonies at Fred Kelly Stadium in Orange on Thursday, June 14, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    ASB President Kyle Bui addresses the Class of 2018 during the Canyon High School graduation ceremonies at Fred Kelly Stadium in Orange on Thursday, June 14, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • John Bader, center, waits with fellow graduates as they file into Fred Kelly Stadium for the Canyon High School graduation ceremonies in Orange on Thursday, June 14, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    John Bader, center, waits with fellow graduates as they file into Fred Kelly Stadium for the Canyon High School graduation ceremonies in Orange on Thursday, June 14, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Daniel Krahl gets his tassel out of his mouth as he waits for his diploma during the Canyon High School graduation ceremonies at Fred Kelly Stadium in Orange on Thursday, June 14, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Daniel Krahl gets his tassel out of his mouth as he waits for his diploma during the Canyon High School graduation ceremonies at Fred Kelly Stadium in Orange on Thursday, June 14, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Britney Kerr, center, beams as she walks with her classmates during the Canyon High School graduation ceremonies at Fred Kelly Stadium in Orange on Thursday, June 14, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Britney Kerr, center, beams as she walks with her classmates during the Canyon High School graduation ceremonies at Fred Kelly Stadium in Orange on Thursday, June 14, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Graduate Lauren Ledesma has her cap adorned with flowers during the Canyon High School graduation ceremonies at Fred Kelly Stadium in Orange on Thursday, June 14, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Graduate Lauren Ledesma has her cap adorned with flowers during the Canyon High School graduation ceremonies at Fred Kelly Stadium in Orange on Thursday, June 14, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Graduate Ryan Belda poses with his family after the Canyon High School graduation ceremonies at Fred Kelly Stadium in Orange on Thursday, June 14, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Graduate Ryan Belda poses with his family after the Canyon High School graduation ceremonies at Fred Kelly Stadium in Orange on Thursday, June 14, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Graduates sing the National Anthem with the rest of the choir during the Canyon High School graduation ceremonies at Fred Kelly Stadium in Orange on Thursday, June 14, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Graduates sing the National Anthem with the rest of the choir during the Canyon High School graduation ceremonies at Fred Kelly Stadium in Orange on Thursday, June 14, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • A UCI-bound graduate listens to speakers during the Canyon High School graduation ceremonies at Fred Kelly Stadium in Orange on Thursday, June 14, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    A UCI-bound graduate listens to speakers during the Canyon High School graduation ceremonies at Fred Kelly Stadium in Orange on Thursday, June 14, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Graduate Joshua Tarango poses with photos of himself  after the Canyon High School graduation ceremonies at Fred Kelly Stadium in Orange on Thursday, June 14, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Graduate Joshua Tarango poses with photos of himself after the Canyon High School graduation ceremonies at Fred Kelly Stadium in Orange on Thursday, June 14, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Graduates listen to speakers during the Canyon High School graduation ceremonies at Fred Kelly Stadium in Orange on Thursday, June 14, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Graduates listen to speakers during the Canyon High School graduation ceremonies at Fred Kelly Stadium in Orange on Thursday, June 14, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Graduates listen to speakers during the Canyon High School graduation ceremonies at Fred Kelly Stadium in Orange on Thursday, June 14, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Graduates listen to speakers during the Canyon High School graduation ceremonies at Fred Kelly Stadium in Orange on Thursday, June 14, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Graduate Cade Campbell poses for a photo with his grandparents Mark and Marlene after the Canyon High School graduation ceremonies at Fred Kelly Stadium in Orange on Thursday, June 14, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Graduate Cade Campbell poses for a photo with his grandparents Mark and Marlene after the Canyon High School graduation ceremonies at Fred Kelly Stadium in Orange on Thursday, June 14, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • A contraband beach ball is tossed around during the Canyon High School graduation ceremonies at Fred Kelly Stadium in Orange on Thursday, June 14, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    A contraband beach ball is tossed around during the Canyon High School graduation ceremonies at Fred Kelly Stadium in Orange on Thursday, June 14, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Late arrival Amanda Coelho fills out her name card before the Canyon High School graduation ceremonies at Fred Kelly Stadium in Orange on Thursday, June 14, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Late arrival Amanda Coelho fills out her name card before the Canyon High School graduation ceremonies at Fred Kelly Stadium in Orange on Thursday, June 14, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Villa Park senior Erin McCurry hugs Canyon graduate Christian Downey after the Canyon High School graduation ceremonies at Fred Kelly Stadium in Orange on Thursday, June 14, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Villa Park senior Erin McCurry hugs Canyon graduate Christian Downey after the Canyon High School graduation ceremonies at Fred Kelly Stadium in Orange on Thursday, June 14, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Samantha English, center left, holds her cap as she leaves the field with her fellow graduates after the Canyon High School graduation ceremonies at Fred Kelly Stadium in Orange on Thursday, June 14, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Samantha English, center left, holds her cap as she leaves the field with her fellow graduates after the Canyon High School graduation ceremonies at Fred Kelly Stadium in Orange on Thursday, June 14, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Families search for their graduates after the Canyon High School graduation ceremonies at Fred Kelly Stadium in Orange on Thursday, June 14, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Families search for their graduates after the Canyon High School graduation ceremonies at Fred Kelly Stadium in Orange on Thursday, June 14, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Graduates Daniel Torero, Kyle Bui and Zach Shorts, from left, pose for photos after the Canyon High School graduation ceremonies at Fred Kelly Stadium in Orange on Thursday, June 14, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Graduates Daniel Torero, Kyle Bui and Zach Shorts, from left, pose for photos after the Canyon High School graduation ceremonies at Fred Kelly Stadium in Orange on Thursday, June 14, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

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The Class of 2018 at Orange’s Canyon High School held commencement on June 14 at Fred Kelly Stadium.

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Tesoro High School Graduation

Tesoro High School held the commencement ceremony for its Class of 2018 on June 7 at LeBard Stadium at Orange Coast College.

  • Eve DeVault dances back to her seat after receiving her diploma during the Tesoro High School graduation ceremony in LeBard Stadium at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa on Thursday, June 7, 2018. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Eve DeVault dances back to her seat after receiving her diploma during the Tesoro High School graduation ceremony in LeBard Stadium at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa on Thursday, June 7, 2018. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Rachel Fulford, right, jubilates as she shows fellow graduate, Sabrina Murphy, her diploma during the Tesoro High School graduation ceremony in LeBard Stadium at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa on Thursday, June 7, 2018. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Rachel Fulford, right, jubilates as she shows fellow graduate, Sabrina Murphy, her diploma during the Tesoro High School graduation ceremony in LeBard Stadium at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa on Thursday, June 7, 2018. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

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  • Caroline Fish waves to her family in the stands during the Tesoro High School graduation ceremony in LeBard Stadium at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa on Thursday, June 7, 2018. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Caroline Fish waves to her family in the stands during the Tesoro High School graduation ceremony in LeBard Stadium at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa on Thursday, June 7, 2018. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Family and friends of new graduates celebrate when the name of the student is announced during the Tesoro High School graduation ceremony in LeBard Stadium at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa on Thursday, June 7, 2018. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Family and friends of new graduates celebrate when the name of the student is announced during the Tesoro High School graduation ceremony in LeBard Stadium at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa on Thursday, June 7, 2018. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Tesoro seniors walk down the steps to the field at the start of the Tesoro High School graduation ceremony in LeBard Stadium at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa on Thursday, June 7, 2018. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Tesoro seniors walk down the steps to the field at the start of the Tesoro High School graduation ceremony in LeBard Stadium at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa on Thursday, June 7, 2018. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Hailey Havourd, center, joins her classmates in the National Anthem during the Tesoro High School graduation ceremony in LeBard Stadium at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa on Thursday, June 7, 2018. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Hailey Havourd, center, joins her classmates in the National Anthem during the Tesoro High School graduation ceremony in LeBard Stadium at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa on Thursday, June 7, 2018. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • A new graduate celebrates during the Tesoro High School graduation ceremony in LeBard Stadium at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa on Thursday, June 7, 2018. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    A new graduate celebrates during the Tesoro High School graduation ceremony in LeBard Stadium at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa on Thursday, June 7, 2018. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • New graduate Nina Nicole Johansson, right, hugs teacher Ms. Roberts after receiving her diploma during the Tesoro High School graduation ceremony in LeBard Stadium at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa on Thursday, June 7, 2018. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    New graduate Nina Nicole Johansson, right, hugs teacher Ms. Roberts after receiving her diploma during the Tesoro High School graduation ceremony in LeBard Stadium at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa on Thursday, June 7, 2018. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Graduates, from left, Holly Ann Hatchel, Chelsea McCormick and Christa Koontz wave to family and friends in the stands during the Tesoro High School graduation ceremony in LeBard Stadium at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa on Thursday, June 7, 2018. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Graduates, from left, Holly Ann Hatchel, Chelsea McCormick and Christa Koontz wave to family and friends in the stands during the Tesoro High School graduation ceremony in LeBard Stadium at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa on Thursday, June 7, 2018. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Tesoro graduates take take their seats during the Tesoro High School graduation ceremony in LeBard Stadium at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa on Thursday, June 7, 2018. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Tesoro graduates take take their seats during the Tesoro High School graduation ceremony in LeBard Stadium at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa on Thursday, June 7, 2018. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Christina Kuntz reacts as she sees fellow graduates pass by during the Tesoro High School graduation ceremony in LeBard Stadium at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa on Thursday, June 7, 2018. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Christina Kuntz reacts as she sees fellow graduates pass by during the Tesoro High School graduation ceremony in LeBard Stadium at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa on Thursday, June 7, 2018. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Tesoro seniors, from left, Jessica Huth, Chelsea Viera, Sara La Rue cheer as their classmates names are called during the Tesoro High School graduation ceremony in LeBard Stadium at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa on Thursday, June 7, 2018. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Tesoro seniors, from left, Jessica Huth, Chelsea Viera, Sara La Rue cheer as their classmates names are called during the Tesoro High School graduation ceremony in LeBard Stadium at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa on Thursday, June 7, 2018. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Hannah Williams, left, and Emily Christopoulos embrace during the Tesoro High School graduation ceremony in LeBard Stadium at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa on Thursday, June 7, 2018. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Hannah Williams, left, and Emily Christopoulos embrace during the Tesoro High School graduation ceremony in LeBard Stadium at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa on Thursday, June 7, 2018. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Danielle Powers, front, leads the Tesoro High School Madrigals in a rendition of “In My Life” during the Tesoro High School graduation ceremony in LeBard Stadium at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa on Thursday, June 7, 2018. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Danielle Powers, front, leads the Tesoro High School Madrigals in a rendition of “In My Life” during the Tesoro High School graduation ceremony in LeBard Stadium at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa on Thursday, June 7, 2018. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • A new graduate, right, is embraced by a faculty member during the Tesoro High School graduation ceremony in LeBard Stadium at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa on Thursday, June 7, 2018. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    A new graduate, right, is embraced by a faculty member during the Tesoro High School graduation ceremony in LeBard Stadium at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa on Thursday, June 7, 2018. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Alissa Heinsius, left, and Kennedy Brown celebrate after receiving their diploma during the Tesoro High School graduation ceremony in LeBard Stadium at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa on Thursday, June 7, 2018. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Alissa Heinsius, left, and Kennedy Brown celebrate after receiving their diploma during the Tesoro High School graduation ceremony in LeBard Stadium at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa on Thursday, June 7, 2018. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Amy Noval, right, as she shows her fellow graduate her empty diploma during the Tesoro High School graduation ceremony in LeBard Stadium at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa on Thursday, June 7, 2018. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Amy Noval, right, as she shows her fellow graduate her empty diploma during the Tesoro High School graduation ceremony in LeBard Stadium at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa on Thursday, June 7, 2018. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Jeremy Hassel holds up is diploma to his family in the stands during the Tesoro High School graduation ceremony in LeBard Stadium at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa on Thursday, June 7, 2018. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Jeremy Hassel holds up is diploma to his family in the stands during the Tesoro High School graduation ceremony in LeBard Stadium at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa on Thursday, June 7, 2018. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Julia Pacific reacts when she sees friends in the stands during the Tesoro High School graduation ceremony in LeBard Stadium at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa on Thursday, June 7, 2018. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Julia Pacific reacts when she sees friends in the stands during the Tesoro High School graduation ceremony in LeBard Stadium at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa on Thursday, June 7, 2018. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

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Fullerton Union High School Graduation 2018

Fullerton Union High held the commencement ceremony for its Class of 2018 on May 30 at the district stadium.

  • Enrique Gonzalez celebrates as the Class of 2018 is announced during the Fullerton Union High School graduation at Fullerton District Stadium in Fullerton on Wednesday, May 30, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Enrique Gonzalez celebrates as the Class of 2018 is announced during the Fullerton Union High School graduation at Fullerton District Stadium in Fullerton on Wednesday, May 30, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Tyler Mollenkramer celebrates after receiving his diploma during the Fullerton Union High School graduation at Fullerton District Stadium in Fullerton on Wednesday, May 30, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Tyler Mollenkramer celebrates after receiving his diploma during the Fullerton Union High School graduation at Fullerton District Stadium in Fullerton on Wednesday, May 30, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

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  • Graduates wait for the start of graduation ceremonies for Fullerton Union High School at Fullerton District Stadium in Fullerton on Wednesday, May 30, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Graduates wait for the start of graduation ceremonies for Fullerton Union High School at Fullerton District Stadium in Fullerton on Wednesday, May 30, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Carolina Casillas helps Parker Browne with his cap before the Fullerton Union High School graduation at Fullerton District Stadium in Fullerton on Wednesday, May 30, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Carolina Casillas helps Parker Browne with his cap before the Fullerton Union High School graduation at Fullerton District Stadium in Fullerton on Wednesday, May 30, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • A graduate shows off her diploma during the Fullerton Union High School graduation at Fullerton District Stadium in Fullerton on Wednesday, May 30, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    A graduate shows off her diploma during the Fullerton Union High School graduation at Fullerton District Stadium in Fullerton on Wednesday, May 30, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Confetti falls as graduates pose for photos with friends after the Fullerton Union High School graduation in Fullerton on Wednesday, May 30, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Confetti falls as graduates pose for photos with friends after the Fullerton Union High School graduation in Fullerton on Wednesday, May 30, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Graduates head into Fullerton District Stadium for the Fullerton Union High School graduation in Fullerton on Wednesday, May 30, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Graduates head into Fullerton District Stadium for the Fullerton Union High School graduation in Fullerton on Wednesday, May 30, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Families and graduates mill about the courtyard as they snap photos and receive gifts after the Fullerton Union High School graduation in Fullerton on Wednesday, May 30, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Families and graduates mill about the courtyard as they snap photos and receive gifts after the Fullerton Union High School graduation in Fullerton on Wednesday, May 30, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Noah Martinez shows off his cap to family in the stands as graduates enter Fullerton District Stadium for the Fullerton Union High School graduation in Fullerton on Wednesday, May 30, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Noah Martinez shows off his cap to family in the stands as graduates enter Fullerton District Stadium for the Fullerton Union High School graduation in Fullerton on Wednesday, May 30, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Kaliya Ross celebrates after receiving her diploma during the Fullerton Union High School graduation at Fullerton District Stadium in Fullerton on Wednesday, May 30, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Kaliya Ross celebrates after receiving her diploma during the Fullerton Union High School graduation at Fullerton District Stadium in Fullerton on Wednesday, May 30, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Marlon Haines, left, celebrates with classmates, including  Priscilla Ortiz, center left, as the Class of 2018 leaves Fullerton District Stadium after the Fullerton Union High School graduation in Fullerton on Wednesday, May 30, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Marlon Haines, left, celebrates with classmates, including Priscilla Ortiz, center left, as the Class of 2018 leaves Fullerton District Stadium after the Fullerton Union High School graduation in Fullerton on Wednesday, May 30, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Graduates snap photos with family members after the Fullerton Union High School graduation at Fullerton District Stadium in Fullerton on Wednesday, May 30, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Graduates snap photos with family members after the Fullerton Union High School graduation at Fullerton District Stadium in Fullerton on Wednesday, May 30, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Members of of the JROTC Color Guard salute graduates as they leave the Fullerton Union High School graduation at Fullerton District Stadium in Fullerton on Wednesday, May 30, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Members of of the JROTC Color Guard salute graduates as they leave the Fullerton Union High School graduation at Fullerton District Stadium in Fullerton on Wednesday, May 30, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Gradutate Ricardo Navarro gives teacher Aaron Vandenburgh a hug as the Class of 2018 leaves Fullerton District Stadium after graduation ceremonies for Fullerton Union High School in Fullerton on Wednesday, May 30, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Gradutate Ricardo Navarro gives teacher Aaron Vandenburgh a hug as the Class of 2018 leaves Fullerton District Stadium after graduation ceremonies for Fullerton Union High School in Fullerton on Wednesday, May 30, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Graduate Richard Medina tries to find his family after commencement ceremonies at Fullerton Union High School in Fullerton on Wednesday, May 30, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Graduate Richard Medina tries to find his family after commencement ceremonies at Fullerton Union High School in Fullerton on Wednesday, May 30, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Photos are taken after the Fullerton Union High School graduation in Fullerton on Wednesday, May 30, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Photos are taken after the Fullerton Union High School graduation in Fullerton on Wednesday, May 30, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Surrounded by friends and family, graduates enter Fullerton District Stadium for the Fullerton Union High School graduation in Fullerton on Wednesday, May 30, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Surrounded by friends and family, graduates enter Fullerton District Stadium for the Fullerton Union High School graduation in Fullerton on Wednesday, May 30, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Matthew Gonzalez celebrates after receiving his diploma during the Fullerton Union High School graduation at Fullerton District Stadium in Fullerton on Wednesday, May 30, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Matthew Gonzalez celebrates after receiving his diploma during the Fullerton Union High School graduation at Fullerton District Stadium in Fullerton on Wednesday, May 30, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Graduates walk into the setting sun during the Fullerton Union High School graduation at Fullerton District Stadium in Fullerton on Wednesday, May 30, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Graduates walk into the setting sun during the Fullerton Union High School graduation at Fullerton District Stadium in Fullerton on Wednesday, May 30, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Two graduates share a moment during the Fullerton Union High School graduation at Fullerton District Stadium in Fullerton on Wednesday, May 30, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Two graduates share a moment during the Fullerton Union High School graduation at Fullerton District Stadium in Fullerton on Wednesday, May 30, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Principal Laura Rubio speaks during the Fullerton Union High School graduation at Fullerton District Stadium in Fullerton on Wednesday, May 30, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Principal Laura Rubio speaks during the Fullerton Union High School graduation at Fullerton District Stadium in Fullerton on Wednesday, May 30, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Co-valedictorian Cinthia Gonzalez Reyes addresses her classmates during the Fullerton Union High School graduation at Fullerton District Stadium in Fullerton on Wednesday, May 30, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Co-valedictorian Cinthia Gonzalez Reyes addresses her classmates during the Fullerton Union High School graduation at Fullerton District Stadium in Fullerton on Wednesday, May 30, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • ASB President and co-salutatorian Emily Ong gets emotional as she addresses her classmates during the Fullerton Union High School graduation at Fullerton District Stadium in Fullerton on Wednesday, May 30, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    ASB President and co-salutatorian Emily Ong gets emotional as she addresses her classmates during the Fullerton Union High School graduation at Fullerton District Stadium in Fullerton on Wednesday, May 30, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Friends share a laugh as they pose for photos after the Fullerton Union High School graduation in Fullerton on Wednesday, May 30, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Friends share a laugh as they pose for photos after the Fullerton Union High School graduation in Fullerton on Wednesday, May 30, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Director Scott Hedgecock leads the Fullerton Union High School Combined Choirs, with gowned seniors in front, during their commencement ceremonies at Fullerton District Stadium in Fullerton on Wednesday, May 30, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Director Scott Hedgecock leads the Fullerton Union High School Combined Choirs, with gowned seniors in front, during their commencement ceremonies at Fullerton District Stadium in Fullerton on Wednesday, May 30, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • A graduate proudly shows off her diploma during the Fullerton Union High School graduation at Fullerton District Stadium in Fullerton on Wednesday, May 30, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    A graduate proudly shows off her diploma during the Fullerton Union High School graduation at Fullerton District Stadium in Fullerton on Wednesday, May 30, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Gil James dances his way down the aisle after receiving his diploma during the Fullerton Union High School graduation at Fullerton District Stadium in Fullerton on Wednesday, May 30, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Gil James dances his way down the aisle after receiving his diploma during the Fullerton Union High School graduation at Fullerton District Stadium in Fullerton on Wednesday, May 30, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Two friends hug after receiving their diplomas during the Fullerton Union High School graduation at Fullerton District Stadium in Fullerton on Wednesday, May 30, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Two friends hug after receiving their diplomas during the Fullerton Union High School graduation at Fullerton District Stadium in Fullerton on Wednesday, May 30, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Graduates celebrate after they are announced during the Fullerton Union High School graduation at Fullerton District Stadium in Fullerton on Wednesday, May 30, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Graduates celebrate after they are announced during the Fullerton Union High School graduation at Fullerton District Stadium in Fullerton on Wednesday, May 30, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Ty Robinson wears a J.R.R. Tolkien quote on his cap during the Fullerton Union High School graduation at Fullerton District Stadium in Fullerton on Wednesday, May 30, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Ty Robinson wears a J.R.R. Tolkien quote on his cap during the Fullerton Union High School graduation at Fullerton District Stadium in Fullerton on Wednesday, May 30, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • A quote-filled graduation cap adorns the head of a student during the Fullerton Union High School graduation at Fullerton District Stadium in Fullerton on Wednesday, May 30, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    A quote-filled graduation cap adorns the head of a student during the Fullerton Union High School graduation at Fullerton District Stadium in Fullerton on Wednesday, May 30, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Toy Story-themed caps are worn during the Fullerton Union High School graduation at Fullerton District Stadium in Fullerton on Wednesday, May 30, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Toy Story-themed caps are worn during the Fullerton Union High School graduation at Fullerton District Stadium in Fullerton on Wednesday, May 30, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • A Star Wars-themed graduation cap is seen during the Fullerton Union High School graduation at Fullerton District Stadium in Fullerton on Wednesday, May 30, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    A Star Wars-themed graduation cap is seen during the Fullerton Union High School graduation at Fullerton District Stadium in Fullerton on Wednesday, May 30, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Graduates wear decorated caps during the Fullerton Union High School graduation at Fullerton District Stadium in Fullerton on Wednesday, May 30, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Graduates wear decorated caps during the Fullerton Union High School graduation at Fullerton District Stadium in Fullerton on Wednesday, May 30, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Graduates wear decorated caps during the Fullerton Union High School graduation at Fullerton District Stadium in Fullerton on Wednesday, May 30, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Graduates wear decorated caps during the Fullerton Union High School graduation at Fullerton District Stadium in Fullerton on Wednesday, May 30, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Navy-bound Alex Boull’t listens to speakers during the Fullerton Union High School graduation at Fullerton District Stadium in Fullerton on Wednesday, May 30, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Navy-bound Alex Boull’t listens to speakers during the Fullerton Union High School graduation at Fullerton District Stadium in Fullerton on Wednesday, May 30, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Decorated caps dot the heads of graduates during the Fullerton Union High School graduation at Fullerton District Stadium in Fullerton on Wednesday, May 30, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Decorated caps dot the heads of graduates during the Fullerton Union High School graduation at Fullerton District Stadium in Fullerton on Wednesday, May 30, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

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Increased police presence set for Thursday at Orange County School of the Arts after bomb threat

SANTA ANA — Authorities say a bomb threat emailed to some students at the Orange County School of the Arts in Santa Ana was not credible — but nevertheless police plan a large presence there Thursday.

About 20 students received through social media an anonymous threat that there would be a bomb on campus Thursday, according to school officials.

The students were alerted to the threat via a social media platform called Sarahah, school officials said in a letter Wednesday to parents, faculty and staff.

“Law enforcement takes every threat as credible until determined otherwise based on available intelligence, information and a corresponding investigation,” the letter says “Our (law enforcement) partners have performed that investigation and have determined there is no credible threat to our institution at this time. We want to assure you that student safety is one of the highest priorities we have.”

Out of an abundance of caution, Orange County Sheriff’s Department deputies and Santa Ana officers will be present at the school Thursday, Santa Ana police Cpl. Anthony Bertagna said Wednesday night.

 

 

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Anaheim Elementary School District Superintendent accepts job in San Diego County

ANAHEIM >> Anaheim Elementary School District Superintendent Linda Kimble announced Tuesday she has accepted a similar position with the Vista Unified School District in San Diego County.

The Vista school board voted unanimously tonight to appoint Kimble. She will begin the job in early January.

Kimble became superintendent of the Anaheim district in 2012 after serving as superintendent for the Monrovia Unified School District.

During her tenure, the district implemented a district-wide music curriculum and passed a $318 million bond measure intended to improve school buildings and facilities across the district, according to Keith Sterling, the district’s director of communications & public information.

“I am truly grateful for the wonderful opportunities and experiences afforded to me during my tenure in Anaheim,” Kimble said. “Together, we have made a tremendous and positive difference for the children and families we serve.”

The district’s board is expected to discuss the search process for a new superintendent at its Wednesday meeting.

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Anaheim’s Savanna High mascot Johnny Rebel will be altered to eliminate any perception of Confederacy links

ANAHEIM —Students at Savanna High School will continue to call themselves the Rebels, but their longtime mascot, Johnny Rebel, will become a thing of the past.

Supporters of the Anaheim Union High School District board’s decision Monday, including more than half of current students, hope to remove any perception of connections to the Confederacy.

After hearing from about two dozen students and alumni during a special board meeting held on the campus, district trustees opted to follow the wishes of the student body and re-brand the mascot to eliminate references to a Civil War-era soldier.

Exactly what re-branding will entail has not been specified, but a district estimate puts the cost of changes at $51,000.

An undercurrent of tension and emotion occasionally surfaced in the school auditorium, where about 130 people gathered for the meeting, some wearing red – the dominant school color – or Savanna T-shirts and varsity jackets.

Jeanne Tenno, a member of the first graduating class in 1963, spoke through tears as she explained the slogan ‘Rebel Pride’ was about cleaning up the campus, being kind to fellow students and having an award-winning marching band.

“We did not celebrate the South,” she said. “We celebrated our sports victories and stood together in defeat.”

Several students and residents had approached the school board about changing Savanna’s mascot, pointing to the imagery that could be linked to the Confederacy and saying they consider it offensive.

Students researched and discussed the issue in classes before holding a campus vote in which 56 percent supported making changes to the mascot rather than leaving it in place or removing it entirely.

In emails, some Savanna High alumni who helped pick the mascot when the school opened in the early 1960s said they never associated the Rebels with the Confederacy or slavery, while others said changing the mascot would help distance the school from the division of the Civil War era.

At Monday’s meeting, people spoke in favor of all three options, but most of those who addressed the school board said the mascot should be altered or replaced. Some said re-branding would be a way of keeping a treasured tradition many don’t connect to the Civil War.

But for Bianca Garcia, a 2009 Savanna graduate, Johnny Rebel is a symbol of support for the Confederacy.

“No one should glorify a man who agrees with slavery or doesn’t stand against it,” she said.

Savanna’s mascot debate comes amid conversations around the country about monuments commemorating people and events tied to the Civil War, and whether they are honoring history or perpetuating a legacy of discrimination.

After the meeting, senior Matthew Thomas, who supported replacing the mascot, said he was a little disappointed, but is glad some changes will be made.

As an athlete and president of the school’s Black Student Union, Thomas told the board he didn’t want to represent a mascot with Confederate links.

Once the mascot is re-branded, Thomas said he hopes no one talks about or tries to defend Johnny Rebel.

“I don’t want to have to deal with that conversation,” he said, “or that kind of people.”

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Lowell school district terminates lease for Whittier Christian Elementary School, seeks replacement private school

WHITTIER — Two weeks after terminating Whittier Christian Elementary School’s lease to use Maybrook Elementary School, officials at the Lowell Joint School District said they hope to find a replacement private school to operate the campus that served 288 students last year.

Meanwhile, the operator of the current school vows to stay put, possibly forcing an eviction.

The school board voted July 31 to terminate the lease and on Monday, it voted to encourage a new operator by promising to shield the newcomer from potential lawsuits.

Whittier Christian is scheduled to begin classes Aug. 24, but Lowell Superintendent Jim Coombs said the district is prepared to go to court to evict the school from the campus at 11700 Maybrook Ave. The district includes part of La Habra.

Once the campus — previously the site of a public elementary school — is available, Lowell has one possible candidate, Heights Christian Schools, in mind.

Heights Christian operates a junior high, one school for fifth- and sixth-graders, three elementary schools, and five preschools.

Claud Lamar, president and CEO for Heights Christian, told the board Monday his organization was interested in taking over the campus and asked Whittier Christian parents to call his district office in La Habra Heights.

“We understand that people have paid money,” Lamar said. “To those who have paid registration and to those who have paid tuition, we’ll waive tuition. As we hear from families, we’ll put together a class list.”

Lowell terminated the lease held by Calvary Baptist Church, which since July 1994 had rented the site for use as Whittier Christian Elementary School, for two reasons, Terry T. Tao, attorney for Lowell, said in an Aug. 1 notice of termination.

First, in July 2016, Calvary officials decided to get out of the school business as financial demands became too much and subleased the campus to Carnegie, Pastor John Ploog said.

However, the district’s lease with Calvary doesn’t allow for a sublease, Tao wrote.

Second, Carnegie planned to bring seventh- and eighth-graders onto campus, which also is forbidden under the contract, he wrote.

“This lease has been in place since (July 1994) and the board has made its standing practice to have elementary students only,” Coombs said.

Reached by phone Tuesday, James G. Schwartz, Carnegie’s attorney, denied his client was going to bring seventh- and eighth-graders onto the campus.

“We were hoping to fold (the students) in, but we were told we couldn’t do it,” he said.

However, district officials point to a letter emailed in March to parents saying the junior high would be moved to the Maybrook campus for the 2017-18 school year.

Coombs also said a number of Whittier Christian parents have told them seventh- and eighth-graders were on the Maybrook site during the summer for activities and other classes.

It looks like Lowell may have to go to court to regain control of its campus.

Carnegie “intends to remain at the Maybrook campus for the foreseeable future,” said Schwartz in an Aug. 8 letter to David Libman, attorney for Calvary. “What Carnegie will do, and what Calvary has agreed they do very well, is to continue to provide a high-achieving Christ-centered college preparatory education to each student in the school.”

Calvary officials have said they will not fight the termination of the lease and in fact have canceled its agreement with Carnegie and support the eviction, Ploog said.

Lowell’s problems with Carnegie began last spring when the school didn’t pay the nearly $20,000 monthly rent for April, May and June, Coombs said. The rent was eventually paid with interest and fees.

Whittier Christian Elementary School is not related to Whittier Christian High School.

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Two weeks, two cultures, 15 Cal State Fullerton students’ lives changed

Over posole, ceviche and handfuls of tortilla chips, parents of Cal State Fullerton students chatted in Spanish with one another, too anxious to quite enjoy the moment.

The potluck dinner in May brought them together so Julián Jefferies, assistant professor of literacy and reading education, could allay their fears. Their children were about to embark on a 3,300-mile trip – for some the first time they had been out of California or on an airplane.

A few weeks later, those students were sitting, blindfolded, around a bonfire at 4:30 a.m. on a small island in Puerto Rico as the sun rose and a handful of wild horses walked toward them along the beach.

Wild horses walk along the beach just after sunrise on Vieques, Puerto Rico, after the students finished a professional development exercise. (Photo courtesy of Alicia Afshar)
Wild horses walk along the beach just after sunrise on Vieques, Puerto Rico, after the students finished a professional development exercise. (Photo courtesy of Alicia Afshar)

Their parents could hardly have imagined.

“I warned the parents and the students they were going to come back and they were going to change,” said Miguel Martinez, college career specialist for the College of Education, who accompanied the students, all the first in their families to attend college.

The 15 students returned home with new inspiration, motivation and career goals. Some want to change their career focus; others had a new interest in applying to graduate school. And with the exception of one visit to the hospital, all went smoothly.

The two-week trip by the Literacy Education for Social Change class has become an annual tradition for Jefferies, a strong believer in the power of experiential learning – getting out of the classroom to learn by doing. He took the class to Vieques, an impoverished, rural island where the U.S. Navy conducted bombing and other military exercises for 60 years.

Julián Jefferies, professor at Cal State Fullerton and coordinator of the Puerto Rico International Education Program, shows students the archive at the Museo Fuerte Conde de Mirasol, where students volunteered. (Photo courtesy of Alicia Afshar)
Julián Jefferies, professor at Cal State Fullerton and coordinator of the Puerto Rico International Education Program, shows students the archive at the Museo Fuerte Conde de Mirasol, where students volunteered. (Photo courtesy of Alicia Afshar)

The class members helped establish a community farm, cleaned archives, worked at a radio station and conducted surveys of island residents. Their experience also included professional and personal development, highlighted by a short lecture by Martinez calling the students fakes.

“That was one of the highlights of the trip, when Miguel called them fakes,” said Jefferies.

But that’s putting the cart before the wild horses.

Before the class set foot in Puerto Rico, the students had to learn to budget and to raise money – selling tacos at churches, setting up GoFundMe accounts – to supplement funding from the university’s Center for Internships and Community Engagement and the College of Education.

But an equally tough task was winning over the parents, who worry about a child, especially a daughter, traveling alone. In some cases, the student is a caregiver for siblings or works to help pay the rent or phone bill, making a two-week absence a hardship. Parents often have trouble understanding why their child needs to leave campus to learn. That’s why Jefferies and Martinez hold the potluck.

“For our culture, food is family,” Martinez said.

Geography major Kevin Goxcon brought his mother and sister to the potluck.

“I study the world but yet I haven’t actually explored,” he said. “I’m eager to actually feel the place.”

His mother, Ereida, said she was glad Kevin would acquire more knowledge so he can get ahead and had faith that everything would be all right.

Gerardo Marquez said he was glad his daughter, Otilia, was getting “out of her cubicle” to get to know the world, as it shrinks and integrates culturally.

“So I’m sort of pushing her,” he said.

For their part, the students were so busy on the trip they barely had time to miss their families, Jefferies said. Some worked on an organic farm – weeding, sowing and harvesting – as part of a nonprofit’s efforts to grow more produce on the island. The decades that the Navy used the island for military exercises left it with little indigenous agriculture; produce must be imported from China via Florida, taking so long that much of it ends up decaying, and expensive, by the time it reaches Vieques.

Estefania Gutierrez-Guerrero and Otilia Marquez pull weeds in a community farm in Vieques, Puerto Rico. (Photo courtesy of Alicia Afshar)
Estefania Gutierrez-Guerrero and Otilia Marquez pull weeds in a community farm in Vieques, Puerto Rico. (Photo courtesy of Alicia Afshar)

“A lot of our students are from low-income communities in Santa Ana, Anaheim or Fullerton,” Jefferies said. Issues of access to healthy food are not just found in Puerto Rico. Many minority communities in Orange County have fewer options to buy fresh fruit and must pay more for it than other communities, he pointed out.

Students especially responded to a panel of local women activists who protested against the Navy, and the contamination it left behind, or in favor of more health care on the island. Studies have shown rates of cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease on Vieques sharply higher than elsewhere in Puerto Rico.

When one student experienced an allergic reaction and needed medical care, the only option on the 9,300-population island was a run-down clinic with one doctor and three nurses.

“I left the hospital worried for Viequenses,” said Estefania Gutierrez-Guerrero, a senior majoring in human services.

The class landed in Puerto Rico after two months of student protests at the University of Puerto Rico over proposed budget cuts. Three leaders of the student strike stayed with the CSUF group for two days.

“They were very impressed by the fact that students had basically closed the university for two months in protest,” Jefferies said.

Otilia Marquez shares her experiences of being a Latina woman in Southern California at Radio Vieques, a community radio on the island of Vieques, Puerto Rico. (Photo courtesy of Alicia Afshar)
Otilia Marquez shares her experiences of being a Latina woman in Southern California at Radio Vieques, a community radio station on the island of Vieques, Puerto Rico. (Photo courtesy of Alicia Afshar)

Another timely event was the June 11 referendum on Puerto Rico’s statehood, which passed overwhelmingly.  The students collaborated with a UPR professor to conduct exit interviews with about 300 people early that morning.

The activities and speakers opened the students’ eyes to social justice work, Jefferies said.

“When I think about the work we do there, I don’t know that we’re changing that much,” he said. “The big change is the change in the students. I don’t pretend to go there and improve the vast inequalities that there are there. We can learn from what their struggle is and get motivated to work for social justice.”

Last year, one student realized that Vieques, with few jobs or opportunities and little to do but cruise up and down a one-block stretch, is similar to his hometown of Santa Ana, Martinez said. Surrounded by affluence, Santa Ana’s just a different kind of island.

“They see the Disneyland fireworks, but it’s another world.”

While working on the farm in Vieques, some students learned there is a community garden in Santa Ana, inspiring them to volunteer in their own communities.

Along with such discoveries came more personal ones, Jefferies said. He brings Martinez along on his trips to continue professional development lessons he incorporates into his CSUF classes.

“We’re working on them as professionals, but a lot of it is personal,” Jefferies said. “They don’t believe in themselves, don’t think they can do it or have some kind of limitation.” He says a lot of the young women aren’t used to speaking up in class, even though their writing shows they have a lot to say. Some students hide their knowledge at the dinner table because they don’t want to be accused of being a know-it-all among less-educated family members.

Miguel Martinez, career specialist at Cal State Fullerton, leads a workshop that guides students to select careers that suit their personality types. (Photo courtesy of Alicia Afshar)
Miguel Martinez, career specialist at Cal State Fullerton, leads a workshop that guides students to select careers that suit their personality types. (Photo courtesy of Alicia Afshar)

To address that, Martinez woke up the students at 4:30 a.m. one day and took them to the beach, where Jefferies had started a bonfire. Martinez asked them to write down on a cloth strip three obstacles holding them back. They put the cloth around their shoulders to feel the burden of that limitation, then blindfolded themselves with it to symbolize how it blinds them. Then they threw the cloths into the fire.

Then, as the sun came up, a family of horses came walking up the beach.

“They asked, ‘Did you do this?’” said Martinez. “I so wanted to say yes. It was just magic.”

While that morning was cathartic for many of the students, it was another session with Martinez that provided the jolt many needed to commit to real change. After the UPR students spoke about their protest, showing how much they are invested in their college, Martinez challenged the CSUF students to really commit to being a college student, saying they were just pretending.

“It’s almost like it’s become college is their hobby. It’s not who they are,” Martinez said. They wear a Cal State Fullerton T-shirt, but it’s like a costume. As CSUF has grown as a commuter school, a lot of students don’t stick around after class, apply for jobs on campus or go to baseball games, he said. Instead they have a part-time job and do their classwork at home.

“They’ll go to parties and say, ‘Look, I’m at Fullerton. I’m at university.’ It gives them a ranking in their communities, in their barrios, with their friends,” he said. “What are you really doing with this experience? A lot of them hadn’t been doing what they should.”

Some put off getting involved, saying, “Let me get my degree first and then I’ll be active and contribute.”

He called them fakes.

“I hope I didn’t go overboard,” said Martinez, who added that he wants them to see they are leaders in their community.

“I like Miguel because he’s not as polite as I am,” Jefferies said. “He told them what they needed to hear.” The reflections the students wrote after they returned (see accompanying story) bear out Jefferies’ hunch. He said many included statements along the lines of: “I was called a fake. Miguel was right.”

Otilia Marquez participates in a group activity during the Puerto Rico International Education Program. (Photo courtesy of Alicia Afshar)
Otilia Marquez participates in a group activity during the Puerto Rico International Education Program. (Photo courtesy of Alicia Afshar)

As the students were called out for their level of commitment, they also received a dose of ethnic pride as they spent most of the trip conversing only in Spanish and living and working among the Puerto Rican people.

“Our students have one foot in two worlds,” Jefferies said. “They grew up in the United States, but they are also Latin American, Mexican. Salvadoran. Going to Puerto Rico helps them to be proud of being Latin Americans. They don’t get that many messages that speaking Spanish and being Mexican is a good thing – from media or school,” something Martinez calls “immigrant stress.”

“I think that’s what I’m most proud of,” Jefferies added. “We need more bilingual, bicultural, global-minded people.”

In the students’ own words

Excerpts from reflections the students wrote upon return and from interviews:

Part of the trip to Puerto Rico included written reflections by students on what they learned. (Photo courtesy of Alicia Afshar)
Part of the trip to Puerto Rico included written reflections by students on what they learned. (Photo courtesy of Alicia Afshar)

Kevin Goxcon: This place was magical. The part of the fort we used as a classroom had the most amazing view. The air that reached the top of this hill was unique to anything I have ever felt. Unlike the winds back home that quickly caress and leave, these winds were strong and lingered as they embraced me in their strong arms. They welcomed me to their island. They brought with them the smell of salts from the sea, the moisture from the land, the sounds of faraway dogs and roosters. …

I have this newfound motivation to better myself in order to help others that are facing the same challenges as me. There might be a high school student right now who thinks they cannot afford to go to college or they don’t have what it takes. Perhaps there is a community college student somewhere right now wondering if transferring to a four-year institution is something they can achieve. There might be several students receiving their bachelor’s degree who are not pursuing graduate school due to lack of information or support. I was once in all of those situations. I need to be ready for when I meet these students in the future.

Otilia Marquez: One thing I quickly learned about Vieques, Puerto Rico, is that they are a collectivistic culture! Unselfish and willing to help the community, unite as one, and stand up for what they believe in! They don’t have much to offer to anyone, neither to themselves, materialistic-wise, however, they have it all if they stick together! The island has suffered enough, both individually and as a whole, yet they love freely, speak freely, and always find a way to make a difference.

Otilia Marquez learns about the crops grown at the community farm in Vieques, Puerto Rico, an initiative by locals to grow sustainable produce for local consumption. (Photo courtesy of Alicia Afshar)
Otilia Marquez learns about the crops grown at the community farm in Vieques, Puerto Rico, an initiative by locals to grow sustainable produce for local consumption. (Photo courtesy of Alicia Afshar)

Estefania Gutierrez-Guerrero: One of the most memorable experiences of the trip was hearing the women of Vieques speak about their contributions to their island. … I had always been too scared to stand up and fight for what I think was right. … After hearing the panelists speak about their battles, I realized that activism is what I want to devote my life to. …

A woman who helped me understand the importance of women empowerment was Nilda. … She was part of the protests to remove the Navy, and she continues to fight for Vieques. Something she said that made an impact on me was that protesting can be done through different ways. For example, every morning she would put on a shirt of a certain color and then walk around the plaza. This act of protest is still powerful and meaningful even if it is not with a big group of people. What I understood by that is that you must stand up by yourself, and the right people will join you.

Otilia Marquez, left, Stephanie Flores and Estefania Gutierrez-Guerrero learn to dance bomba, a Puerto Rican dance that originated in the African tradition on the island. (Photo courtesy of Alicia Afshar)
Otilia Marquez, left, Stephanie Flores and Estefania Gutierrez-Guerrero learn to dance bomba, a Puerto Rican dance that originated in the African tradition on the island. (Photo courtesy of Alicia Afshar)

Jason Miramontes: To call myself a student after meeting the students of Vieques would be a lie. … Seeing to what lengths the students were willing to go to just be heard was awe inspiring. Also all the difficulty they had to overcome, the fear that they have during protesting for themselves and their families was impactful. They would tell us how there were government types standing around with cameras ready to take pictures of people to keep an eye on them and make a folder on them. … Seeing what a formidable force people my age in similar circumstances can be was really motivational. I see them and I think to myself “I can do that.” …

My culture isn’t bad! I always thought it was lesser than American, always scared to accept it as part of me but now I can say I am a PROUD CHICANO. I have a better picture of who I am and how I operate and can use that to push myself more. My identity is starting to cement and I can say I am proud of who I am now, knowing I can help make a difference in other people’s lives. I love my culture now and I am actively studying it, I want to know everything, especially the history and dancing … still don’t like a lot of the music though.

Students from Cal State Fullerton learn about the restoration project for the Museo Fuerte Conde de Mirasol, a building that hosts a museum, an archive and a radio station in Vieques, Puerto Rico. (Photo courtesy of Alicia Afshar)
Students from Cal State Fullerton learn about the restoration project for the Museo Fuerte Conde de Mirasol, a building that hosts a museum, an archive and a radio station in Vieques, Puerto Rico. (Photo courtesy of Alicia Afshar)

Cesar Lopez: Those feelings, those emotions that I had were pretty much based on my rough past. From age 13 until 16, I used to be gang-affiliated. It’s true what classmates, professors told me. You can’t let your past define you now because you are a completely different person. …  From now on I’m going to try to identify myself as who I am right now and on the hard work and what I’ve accomplished. …

Originally I wanted to be a social worker and pursue my master’s in education. But then Miguel said, “I picture you teaching junior high in Santa Ana.” Everyone else said they could picture that: “You’re a big dude, sometimes intimidating. But inside you’re like a teddy bear.” There are not that many male, of color, teachers. Maybe I should start teaching.

Mayra Mendoza: There’s a solidarity that the Vieques people have. It doesn’t matter if you are from Vieques. As long as you want to help the community, they’re willing to help you help them.

Anthony Flores: I learned so much from everyone out there. I would share something on Facebook. I wanted things to be known. Now, I don’t just want to sit back and share it on the internet. Now I want to know what can I do to help.

Vanessa Beltran: I would like to bring my experiences and what I learned over there and be able to teach them to my family and friends and my community here, to stand up for what we want.

Maricela Gonzalez: I was interested to see a body of students actually take action, go to this assembly, voice their opinions and their rhetoric. I haven’t dealt with situations of that magnitude. It’s their way of voicing out their way of what they want for their university. It was really good to see.

What’s next?

To tap the desire for change that the trip often elicits, CSUF career specialist Miguel Martinez conducts career exploration workshops with the students. He has them write a statement of purpose  to start reflecting not just on what they’re doing but on what they’re not doing, and administers a RIASEC test, which matches six personality types (realistic, investigative, artistic, social, enterprising and conventional) to occupations, then helps them interpret the results.

Some students were disappointed, said Julián Jefferies, assistant professor of literacy and reading education. They had trouble imagining themselves in the careers the test guided them toward. But it turns out they didn’t know much about many of those careers, he said.

For example, one student who is good with money was annoyed when she was matched with financial jobs. She said she didn’t want to work in a bank; she wanted to help people. But when she was told she could conduct financial literacy workshops for people who get into debt and don’t know why, something clicked. Since she returned home, she got her resume together to apply for those kind of jobs.

“Her parents aren’t professionals,” Jefferies said. “Where is she going to hear: ‘You could be a loan officer’”?

Many students on the trip typically start thinking about graduate school for the first time, something they then have to explain to parents who thought it was enough to put their child through college.

Stephanie Flores shares her experiences in a group activity in Vieques, Puerto Rico. This program takes first generation college students at Cal State Fullerton in a two-week service learning and Spanish-immersion experience. (Photo courtesy of Alicia Afshar)
Stephanie Flores shares her experiences in a group activity in Vieques, Puerto Rico. This program takes first generation college students at Cal State Fullerton in a two-week service learning and Spanish-immersion experience. (Photo courtesy of Alicia Afshar)

“It changes you,” Martinez said. “For some of them, you have to start all over. There’s a certain amount of confidence when you think you know what you want vs. when you really know but have to start over.”

Jefferies expects many students will seek out the Career Center now that they’ve made that connection with Martinez. They came back hungry, wanting to develop an action plan for grad school, Martinez said.

Jefferies also hopes students will stay connected with the CSUF faculty and staff on the trip – who shared their stories of the struggles that brought them to where they are today – and seek out office hours and group events. Some have become his research assistants.

“They know they can get a letter of recommendation from me,” he said. “I told them: ‘I was there with you for two weeks, so I know you’re not crazy. I know you very well. When mosquitoes are biting you when it’s hot, you do hard work. I can give a good recommendation.’”

 

 

 

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‘A persistent and growing underclass’ in Orange County, report shows

Parents holding down two or three jobs each.

Families doubled and tripled up in cramped apartments.

Underachieving students.

Poor health and nutrition.

A dwindling working-age population.

It is not all bad news, but Orange County’s new Community Indicators Report, an annual study by government agencies, businesses and philanthropies, points to many woes woven into the fabric of the county’s sunny suburbs.

One thread links them all: a calamitous shortage of affordable housing.

“Clearly, homelessness, overcrowding, and family financial instability are directly linked to high housing costs,” warns the 74-page data-rich report released last week.

“But other factors are indirectly linked. When families spend 50% or more of their income on housing, they have less remaining to pay for health care and healthy foods, affecting overall health.

“With parents working two or more jobs to afford housing, they may lack the time to help children with homework or afford after-school enrichment, affecting educational achievement.”

If the housing crisis continues, the report predicts, the result will be “a persistent and growing underclass,” while higher-income residents bear the burden of supporting a swelling elderly population.

“There are two chief ways to tackle the problem of out-of-reach housing in Orange County,” it adds. “Bring earnings up or bring costs down.”

  • Course-taking in career technical programs related to science, technology, engineering and math jumped 40 percent from 2014 to 2016 in Orange County schools. Here, Aliso Niguel High School students Julia Hopkins, left, and Shanice Berry, worked on biotech experiments at a showcase in December 2016 for OC Pathways, a program that focuses on work-based learning. (Photo by Mark Rightmire, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Course-taking in career technical programs related to science, technology, engineering and math jumped 40 percent from 2014 to 2016 in Orange County schools. Here, Aliso Niguel High School students Julia Hopkins, left, and Shanice Berry, worked on biotech experiments at a showcase in December 2016 for OC Pathways, a program that focuses on work-based learning. (Photo by Mark Rightmire, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • As Miguel Hernandez steers, his fellow students Lizbeth Gomez and Rudy Martin Del Campo showed off Century High School’s solar powered vehicle at a December 2016 showcase for OC Pathways, a career-based program for students in 14 Orange County school districts. (Photo by Mark Rightmire, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    As Miguel Hernandez steers, his fellow students Lizbeth Gomez and Rudy Martin Del Campo showed off Century High School’s solar powered vehicle at a December 2016 showcase for OC Pathways, a career-based program for students in 14 Orange County school districts. (Photo by Mark Rightmire, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Brandon Bock, left, and Jason Ayala from McFadden Intermediate School in Santa Ana, guided their robotic vehicles at a December 2016 showcase for OC Pathways, a state funded program which encourages students to excel in science, technology, engineering and math-related subjects. (Photo by Mark Rightmire, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Brandon Bock, left, and Jason Ayala from McFadden Intermediate School in Santa Ana, guided their robotic vehicles at a December 2016 showcase for OC Pathways, a state funded program which encourages students to excel in science, technology, engineering and math-related subjects. (Photo by Mark Rightmire, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • The landscaping and barbecue area on the second floor at the Clark Commons affordable family apartments family apartments project in Buena Park on Wednesday, May 10, 2017. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    The landscaping and barbecue area on the second floor at the Clark Commons affordable family apartments family apartments project in Buena Park on Wednesday, May 10, 2017. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • The 70-unit Clark Commons affordable family apartments was built at the at the corner of Orangethorpe and Stanton Avenues in Buena Park on Wednesday, May 10, 2017. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    The 70-unit Clark Commons affordable family apartments was built at the at the corner of Orangethorpe and Stanton Avenues in Buena Park on Wednesday, May 10, 2017. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • The 70-unit Clark Commons affordable family apartments was built at the at the corner of Orangethorpe and Stanton Avenues in Buena Park on Wednesday, May 10, 2017. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    The 70-unit Clark Commons affordable family apartments was built at the at the corner of Orangethorpe and Stanton Avenues in Buena Park on Wednesday, May 10, 2017. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • The the laundry room is one of the amenities offered at the Clark Commons affordable family apartments family apartments project in Buena Park on Wednesday, May 10, 2017. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    The the laundry room is one of the amenities offered at the Clark Commons affordable family apartments family apartments project in Buena Park on Wednesday, May 10, 2017. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • The bike storage area left, and fitness center, right, are two of the many amenities offered at the Clark Commons affordable family apartments family apartments project in Buena Park on Wednesday, May 10, 2017. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    The bike storage area left, and fitness center, right, are two of the many amenities offered at the Clark Commons affordable family apartments family apartments project in Buena Park on Wednesday, May 10, 2017. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • The game is one of the amenities offered to residents at the Clark Commons affordable family apartments family apartments project in Buena Park on Wednesday, May 10, 2017. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    The game is one of the amenities offered to residents at the Clark Commons affordable family apartments family apartments project in Buena Park on Wednesday, May 10, 2017. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • The second floor outdoor playground at the Clark Commons affordable family apartments family apartments project in Buena Park on Wednesday, May 10, 2017. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    The second floor outdoor playground at the Clark Commons affordable family apartments family apartments project in Buena Park on Wednesday, May 10, 2017. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • The fitness center is one of the amenities offered to residents Clark Commons affordable family apartments family apartments project in Buena Park on Wednesday, May 10, 2017. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    The fitness center is one of the amenities offered to residents Clark Commons affordable family apartments family apartments project in Buena Park on Wednesday, May 10, 2017. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • The computer lab is one of the amenities offered to residents Clark Commons affordable family apartments family apartments project in Buena Park on Wednesday, May 10, 2017. The room is used for children to do their homework or learn English. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    The computer lab is one of the amenities offered to residents Clark Commons affordable family apartments family apartments project in Buena Park on Wednesday, May 10, 2017. The room is used for children to do their homework or learn English. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • The 70-unit Clark Commons affordable family apartments was built at the at the corner of Orangethorpe and Stanton Avenues in Buena Park on Wednesday, May 10, 2017. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    The 70-unit Clark Commons affordable family apartments was built at the at the corner of Orangethorpe and Stanton Avenues in Buena Park on Wednesday, May 10, 2017. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Clark Commons, a 70-unit low-income housing project in Buena Park, has a playground and a cmputer center. It was built on the site of a blighted retail center. The city provided $7.7 million in loans to Jamboree Housing Corp., a non-profit developer. (Courtesy Juan Tallo)

    Clark Commons, a 70-unit low-income housing project in Buena Park, has a playground and a cmputer center. It was built on the site of a blighted retail center. The city provided $7.7 million in loans to Jamboree Housing Corp., a non-profit developer. (Courtesy Juan Tallo)

  • Bobbi Smith,15, uses the free wifi to do her homework at Clark Commons, a low-income housing project in Buena Park. More than 2,500 families are on the waiting list for the 70-unit complex, which opened in February 2017, with the help of city loans. (Courtesy Juan Tallo)

    Bobbi Smith,15, uses the free wifi to do her homework at Clark Commons, a low-income housing project in Buena Park. More than 2,500 families are on the waiting list for the 70-unit complex, which opened in February 2017, with the help of city loans. (Courtesy Juan Tallo)

  • At Buena Park’s Clark Commons, a 70-unit low income housing project, a resident coordinator helps children with homework. The waiting list for apartments includes 2,500 families. (Courtesy Juan Tallo)

    At Buena Park’s Clark Commons, a 70-unit low income housing project, a resident coordinator helps children with homework. The waiting list for apartments includes 2,500 families. (Courtesy Juan Tallo)

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Some good news

The report notes several positive trends:

— At 3.7 percent, the jobless rate is lower than that of California or the U.S. In 14 of 19 high-tech industries, its employment concentration is higher than the national average.

— At 5.4 percent, the overall high school dropout rate is lower than the state’s 9.8 percent. Course-taking in career technical education related to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) jumped 40 percent over two years.

— The proportion of residents without health insurance sank to 9 percent in 2015 from 17 percent in 2013, in the wake of the federal Affordable Care Act. The number of poor children with health insurance grew by 40 percent.

— While many communities resist affordable housing projects, a few are being built with city governments’ support, including in Yorba Linda and Buena Park.

We are losing our millennials and Zers,” Lucy Dunn, president and CEO of the Orange County Business Council, a trade group for the county’s largest companies, told a group of 150 executives and government officials at an Orange County Forum gathering last week.

“Cities: you have to say yes to housing…We need city council people not be afraid of the next election.”

Disturbing data

Among the report’s troubling trends:

— To afford a median-priced, one-bedroom rental unit, an hourly wage of $27.62 is needed. Yet 68 percent of Orange County jobs pay below that.

— Orange County’s cost of living is almost double the U.S. average (87% higher). Housing costs are 356% higher than the national average.

— Residents 65 and older are the only group projected to grow proportionate to other age groups in the next 25 years.

— 48 percent of children are not developmentally ready for kindergarten

–Nearly 60,000 households are on waiting lists for government rental assistance.

Michael Ruane, an affordable housing executive who was the county’s project director on its first indicators report 17 years ago, said the data show “there are two Orange Counties.

“What’s striking is the enormous variation. You have poverty in a prosperous region. You have a knowledge economy with high wages, and a tourism economy with lower wages.”

Low pay, high costs

Tourism jobs—some 200,000—make up one of the biggest sectors in the county, along with business and professional positions, and healthcare and social services employment.

But jobs in theme parks, hotels and restaurants pay far less than other large sectors: $24,300 a year on average, with thousands of workers making the minimum wage of $10.50 an hour or slightly above.

Anaheim, home to Disneyland, Orange County’s largest employer with 28,000 workers, is one of the poorest cities in the county, the report notes, with its highest high school drop-out rate (11.5 percent).

Racial and ethnic disparities are stark.

Latinos, on track to grow from 35 percent to 40 percent of the county’s population over the next two decades, experience far more poverty, less access to health care and worse educational results than non-Latino whites (42 percent of the population) or Asians (19 percent).

“Parents work two and three jobs, even on weekends, to make ends meet,” said Al Mijares, county superintendent of schools.

“I know parents who board early buses in Santa Ana to work at south county eateries. They get home late in the evening. So kids are unsupervised. No one can help with homework.”

Adding to the stress, he said, is “overcrowding. There may not be a bed for every member of the household. There may be no place to study.”

Youngest fall behind

The report makes no policy recommendations, but Mijares, whose department is one of the report’s sponsors, said publicly-funded universal pre-kindergarten would be the single biggest boost to educational success.

Georgia, Florida and Oklahoma have enacted statewide pre-K programs, but California has yet to fund a comprehensive program.

Kimberly Goll, executive director of the local Children and Families Commission, said Orange County is the first in California to measure and track factors affecting kindergarten readiness in all its school districts.

Among the 48 percent who enter kindergarten unprepared, some lack motor skills—too much screen time, not enough crayons and physical play, according to some experts. Others lack emotional and cognitive development.

“It is scary that half of our kids are not ready to start kindergarten,” Goll said. “It is well documented that they are then more likely to drop out of high school. They are more likely to become teen parents. They are more likely never to attend college. They are more likely to be arrested for a violent crime.”

Last year, a third of Orange County eleventh graders failed to meet state literacy standards, while 57 percent failed in math.

Still, efforts are ramping up to prepare students for higher-paid jobs requiring STEM skills. Thanks to a state grant, 14,000 high schoolers participate in OC Pathways, a program offering courses and industry contacts in three areas:  Health Care/Biotechnology, Engineering/Advanced Manufacturing and Information Technology/Digital Media.

Vocational education has changed, Mijares said. “For instance, automobiles have become complex, with sophisticated computers under the dash. You need to be an engineer to understand what’s going on.”

More elderly, fewer workers

If demographics are destiny, then the county’s population trends are daunting.

“Families are migrating to other parts of the state and country that boast cheaper housing and lower costs of living,” according to the report. “For the workforce that remains…the social burden of supporting the growing older adult population will fall on them and them alone.”

The age 65-and-older group will grow from 14 percent today to 26 percent of the population by 2040, the report predicts. The number of working-age residents for each dependent (children and the elderly) will shrink from two to one.

“The fewer people of working age, the fewer there are to sustain schools, pensions and other supports to the youngest and oldest members of a population,” the report notes.

Turning malls into housing

Cities often prefer retail development, which brings in sales tax revenue, to multifamily housing, which sparks political opposition.

Even luxury housing is controversial: in March the Newport Beach City Council rescinded its approval of a 25-story project for million-dollar condominiums after opponents threatened a referendum.

Steve PonTell, CEO and President of National Community Renaissance (National CORE), a non-profit affordable housing developer, called on employers at the forum event to “see themselves as being in the housing business.”

Hospitals, for instance, should “have hundreds of units of apartments in conjunction with their facilities,” he added.

Open land is scarce, but as shopping centers begin to retrench under the e-commerce onslaught, struggling retail areas can be converted to housing, the report suggests. “Underutilized retail corridors may be the only viable option for increasing the supply,” said Ruane, who heads an Urban Land Institute initiative to assess the potential.

In Yorba Linda, National CORE, where Ruane serves as executive vice president, built Oakcrest Terrace, a 69-apartment complex for low-income families on the site of a former car dealership. The city contributed about 20% of the funding.

In February, Jamboree Housing Corp., an Irvine nonprofit, opened Clark Commons, a 70-apartment complex for low-income families on the former site of a city maintenance yard and blighted retail center in Buena Park. The city contributed $7.7 million in loans.

One testament to the housing shortage: Clark Commons has a waiting list of 2,500 families.

Homes for the well-off

Orange County’s home building 2014-2015 was mostly for higher incomes.

To buy a home

Only 43 percent of first-time buyers have the necessary income ($92,000/year) to qualify for buying an entry-level home, down from 52 percent in 2009.

To rent a home

In Orange County, a $28/hour wage is needed to afford a one-bedroom apartment.

Cost of living

Orange County is 87 percent more expensive than the national average.

Homeless students

More than 28,000 students are homeless, doubled-up or tripled up with other families.

Education

Under 30 percent of poor students meet state math standards. Under 40 percent meet literacy standards.

*Live in hotels, motels, shelters or unsheltered
Source: U.S. Census Bureau

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