LA PUENTE, CA – Sunkist Elementary School third-grade teacher Laura Aronson, one of only 17 speakers selected from across the country, led workshops focused on inspiring students to succeed and develop strong pathways to college and careers during a national convention.

The No Excuses University (NEU) national convention, held Oct. 20 and 21, gathered educators across the country to strengthen their schools’ college-bound cultures.

“Sunkist believes every student can succeed, so we are always thinking about how to make the program better and share those ideas with our colleagues,” Aronson said. “This was a wonderful opportunity to convey something that our school believes in so much.”

In addition to promoting a college-bound culture, Sunkist incorporates a character traits program that emphasizes six key values: responsibility, respect, trustworthiness, caring, citizenship and fairness. One month is dedicated to one character value, and students earn tiger tickets for demonstrating that value. Tickets are turned in for opportunity drawings and students have a chance to win prizes. A lively assembly is held once a month, where teachers dress as a character trait hero to reinforce the values.

“We create activities and events that are fun and keeps the students engaged,” Aronson said. “We create a culture of enthusiasm focused on going to college and building positive character traits.”

Sunkist has utilized the NEU program for five years, which emphasizes students and parents to think and learn about colleges at an early age. Each classroom adopts a university and studies different programs and majors to pique students’ interests in pursing potential higher education institutions.

“The values and college-going culture at Sunkist can be seen throughout all of our schools at Bassett Unified,” Superintendent Dr. Alex Rojas said. “I am proud that Laura was able to share what our schools are doing to ensure that our students are successful.”


111016_BASSETTUSD_ARONSON1: Sunkist Elementary School third-grade teacher Laura Aronson (back, right) stands with her colleagues at the No Excuses University national conference, where she was one of 17 teachers across the country to lead workshops. Pictured from left to right: Sue Graham, Maria Romero, Cindy Garcia, Damien Lopez, Alejandra Pantoja and Eva Espinoza.