BALDWIN PARK – Central Elementary School parents and their children will take part in a Family College and STEM Night at 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 19 thanks to a partnership between the school and a group of community volunteers.

The 90-minute event will provide parents with a workshop on college attendance while students engage in a STEM activity.

“We cannot thank the volunteers who coordinated this event enough for their selfless devotion to helping ensure our students are on a trajectory that leads them to college,” Baldwin Park Unified Superintendent Froilan N. Mendoza said.

The volunteers are young professionals who have been sharing their talents at Baldwin Park Unified schools for the last three years. Much of the group’s work has focused on STEM assemblies. This year, leaders decided to begin evening workshops to engage parents as well.

The Jan. 19 event is the second of four evening workshops planned for this year. Events are also set for March 16 and May 11. The events target students in fifth and sixth grade and their parents.

“We realized that inspiring the students to go to college is one part of the process,” said Gonzalo Aranguiz, a civil engineer who leads the group. “The other side of the story is what the parents do to guide their kids to go to college.”

Aranguiz’s parents did not go to college and were limited in how they could help him. His goal is to ensure other students don’t face the same hurdle.
“We saw that gap and so now we are providing information to the parents as well,” he said.

Speakers include Corinna Jaramillo, a financial aid expert from Rio Hondo College in Whittier, and Edgar Lozano, a mechanical engineering student at the University of California, Merced.

Central Elementary, a California Gold Ribbon School, offers a strong emphasis on STEM topics. This year, every student at the school participated in the annual Hour of Coding. Principal Esther Garcia said the school is also exploring the possibility of offering courses with curriculum from Project Lead The Way, the nation’s leading provider of STEM curriculum.