WHITTIER – Rio Hondo College’s Board of Trustees President Norma Edith Garcia highlighted the promise of community colleges and shared her personal academy journey on Jan. 19 during the first of five Community Education Forums showcasing the College’s stellar transfer and pathways, including the El Monte Pledge, honors programs, financial aid, career and adult re-entry programs, and other student support services.

The event, held at the El Monte Educational Center, provided El Monte and South El Monte students and community members with a chance to meet top-notch faculty from the College’s comprehensive academic and career programs, including its highly popular nursing, public safety, business administration and four-year automotive technology degree programs.

Garcia shared how she started as a community college student and went on to earn her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at UCLA. Her sister, El Monte City School District Superintendent Maribel Garcia, who also attended the event, earned an Ed.D.

“So much success comes from Rio Hondo College,” Garcia told community members.

Thursday’s forum was also attended by El Monte Union High School District board members Esthela Torres de Siegrist and Maria Morgan – a Rio Hondo College alumna — El Monte Promise Foundation board member Teresa Pinedo and foundation project manager Christina Davila.

College leaders highlighted Rio Hondo College’s innovative student support services. The College provides programs that help high school students enter college, transfer and career guidance, special services for adult re-entry students, and programs for students with socio-economic challenges and foster youths. Rio Hondo College partners with local K-12 school districts, California State University and UC Irvine to ensure student transfers, and with the El Monte Promise Foundation, which instills the value of pursuing a higher education at a young age.

Students who attend El Monte City, Mountain View and El Monte Union High school districts receive priority Rio Hondo College registration and counseling services via the Foundation’s El Monte Pledge, which provides students with seamless educational pathways to UCI and Cal State Los Angeles.

“We have so much to be proud of at Rio Hondo College, including the fact that Rio Hondo consistently ranks in the top community colleges for transferring underrepresented minorities to the UC system,” Superintendent/President Teresa Dreyfuss said.

Rio Hondo College offers 24 associate degrees for transfer that guarantee admittance to the CSU in addition to 50 associate degrees and 60 certificate programs.

Rio Hondo also is among the top 25 community colleges for Hispanic students nationwide.

“Rio Hondo College offers a rich mix of programs for our community, especially our partnerships that foster a career-ready culture and college pathways,” Garcia said. “These forums are an exciting way to connect with our community, to share what we are doing and to learn more about what we can do to serve them.”

During the forum, Trustee Mary Ann Pacheco described how Rio Hondo College could help students develop their talents and discover their career paths.

“It is never too late to learn, earn your degree or certificate, or to transfer,” Pacheco said.

Student Trustee Brandon Pablo Leon praised Rio Hondo College’s Pathway to Law School program, honors program, student advocacy program and clubs. He also talked about the new bookstore that was just completed in time for spring semester and touched upon the other projects that will continue to beautify RHC.

The College’s mascot, Rex the Roadrunner, got the crowd excited for opportunity drawings that included two T-shirts and two Kindle Fires.

The forums continue through May across the College district:

  • 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 23, La Serna High School, 15301 Youngwood Drive, Whittier
  • 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, March 16, Whittier High School, 12417 Philadelphia St., Whittier
  • 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, April 20, Santa Fe High School, 10400 S. Orr and Day Road, Santa Fe Springs
  • 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, May 11, Rio Hondo College Educational Center at Pico Rivera, 9426 Marjorie St., Pico Rivera

For information, call 562-908-3403 or email outreach@riohondo.edu.


011917_RHC_ED_FORUM_1: A prospective student gathers information about Rio Hondo College during a Community Education Forum held by the College at the El Monte Educational Center on Jan. 19.

011917_RHC_ED_FORUM_2: Rio Hondo College Superintendent/President Teresa Dreyfuss addresses El Monte and South El Monte community members during a Community Education Forum on Jan. 19.

011917_RHC_ED_FORUM_3: El Monte and South El Monte community members learned about Rio Hondo College programs during a Jan. 19 Community Education Forum, including the El Monte Pledge, which eases the pathway to college for El Monte Union High School students.