EL MONTE – Shirpser School students unleashed a barrage of questions during the inaugural Panda Cares Reading event, asking Panda Express associates where they went to college, what they do and how many people they direct.

Thirty-two Panda Express associates, ranging from graphic designers to accountants and construction managers, visited Shirpser on Sept. 18 to speak about career options attainable with a college education. Guests read children’s books such as “The Book with No Pictures,” “Boy + Bot” and “Llama Llama Loves to Read” to students.

The event was organized by Shirpser School Teaching Assistant Principal Juan Flores to show students the importance of following the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People from the Leader in Me program.

El Monte City School District’s Leader in Me program teaches students to promote friendliness and embrace leadership roles while encouraging social-emotional growth.

“The event was created to hit what matters most – literacy, careers and contact to adults with leadership skills,” Flores said. “It was very important to build a connection from our Leader in Me program to successful adults who use the same seven habits.”

Panda Cares is a philanthropic arm of Panda Express that serves the community by providing food, volunteer services and funding to schools. Panda Cares has provided funding for gifts given during Shirpser School’s Panda Winter Celebration and its Leader in Me program.

Second-grader Josue Sabillon was awestruck after hearing about how Senior Design Manager Brian Kan creates restaurant layouts for Panda Express, which are used around the U.S. by millions of customers.

“I really liked the drawings of restaurants the speaker did and how his drawings got made – I’d love to do that because I like to draw too,” Sabillon said. “I now know if I want to do that job, I have to go to college.”

Sabillon said his career goal now is to design outlandish restaurants in the shape of foods like hamburgers, roasted chicken and marshmallows.

“Thank you to all the Panda Express Employees who participated in this event,” Superintendent Dr.Maribel Garcia said. “Events like this are great examples of how El Monte City School District
encourages all students to strive for academic achievement and a college education.”


EMCSD_READS1: Panda Express Senior Design Manager Brian Kan and Construction Accounts
Payable Manager Ling Mui read to Shirpser School students on Sept. 18 during the school’s first
Panda Cares Reading event.

EMCSD_READS2: Panda Express Executive Director of Construction Derek Knight (right) and
Executive Director of Design and Architect Service Anthony Lu answer questions from students
about where they went to college and how many workers they direct during Shirpser School’s first
Panda Cares Reading event on Sept. 18.