Calexico High graduate Jesus Alberto Vizcarra is heading off to Croatia to pursue his dream of becoming a professional soccer player. MARIO RENTERIA PHOTO
Calexico High 2012 graduate Jesus Alberto Vizcarra has a big dream and he's going all the way to Europe to pursue it.
The 20-year-old Imperial Valley College student is hoping to be a professional soccer player with a big club team in Europe and he's starting in Croatia later this month.
"I hope to gain experience and for Croatia to be a stepping stone for me to go to a bigger club, bigger league, to play in a big division league club in Europe," said the former forward for the Bulldogs.
He's only days away from traveling to a country he's never visited, a trip that started soon after graduating high school.
"I started looking for teams to improve my game. Thankfully, I found this school that is affiliated with Atlas of Guadalajara in Mexicali," he said.
The school is Centro de Alto Rendimiento Proyect Talents A.C., where he played from August 2013 through last year. He attended a tournament in July with the school in Guadalajara, where he garnered interest from other scouts.
He returned in November to Guadalajara, where his immediate future was set.
"They already have links with some teams (around the world)," Vizcarra said. "They asked me if I wanted to go play in Croatia or Bosnia, I chose Croatia."
On Jan. 18 he'll head back to Guadalajara, where he will meet with his agent and another player from Mexico. The three will make the trip across the North Atlantic Ocean to Croatia on Jan. 20.
"It feels like (I'm) close to a big accomplishment, but I don't let that (drop) me into a comfort zone," he said. "I want to have missions, go for more and hopefully one day play in a big top club."
Vizcarra is putting his education on hold to pursue his dream. He's close to graduating from IVC with a degree in administration of justice. Should the pro career not pan out, he'll pursue his bachelor's degree.
In Croatia, he'll find out what team he will play with.
For now, he's leaving the comforts of home, family and friends for a few months to pursue a dream in a country that can put a freeze to his dreams or open doors for his future.
"Everyone is so accustomed to the Valley that they fear going away," he said. "If you have a dream, go for it, only you can stop yourself."
By CHELCEY ADAMI Staff Writer
A new program that allows qualifying Imperial County jail inmates to study alongside Imperial Valley College students has wrapped up its first semester.
The Inside/Out College program is the first of its kind in the state and is offered through a collaboration with the Imperial County Sheriff's Office, Imperial Valley College and the Imperial County Probation Department.
Fourteen "inside" students from the jail and nine "outside" students from IVC met weekly at the Imperial County Day Reporting Center to complete a one-unit college course in the Alcohol and Drug Studies Program, focusing on life skills development.
Incarcerated students not only gain education but also are more likely to continue their education once they leave while the students not incarcerated gain a different perspective on the criminal justice system.
"This was a great experience," according to instructor Aruna Patel. "This is what education is all about – discovering how we can work together for a better future."
Inside/Out College Program coordinator Gaylla A. Finnell and sheriff's Sgt. Robert Wilson attended a week-long training last year in Michigan as part of the program.
"We were determined to get the training necessary to insure we had the best chance possible for success," according to Finnell. "We knew we were trying something different, and we wanted to make sure we were establishing a quality program for Imperial County."
Incarcerated students participating in the program will be low-risk offenders selected through a screening process to ensure their type of offense isn't violent and that they are ideal students for the program, Finnell explained.
All the students completing the class were honored during a special ceremony at the center on Wednesday.
The Imperial County Sheriff's Office is the first sheriff's office in the nation to offer this course.
"The Imperial County Sheriff's Office is proud to be a part of this innovative and ground-breaking program. In the few short weeks that this program has been in existence, I have seen significant change in not only the perception of the inmates themselves, but the perceptions of the outside students," according to Sheriff Ray Loera. "This is the type of program that will benefit the community by helping people re-integrate as productive members of society."
FROM LEFT: Joe Cortez, Francesco Cortez and Yolanda Machado help put on the sash on Evangelina Jackson during the pinning and lamp lighting ceremony for licensed vocational nursing Friday at Imperial Valley College in Imperial. Jackson's son, Francesco Cortez, is also graduating from the registered nursing program the same day at IVC. JOSELITO VILLERO PHOTO
By KARINA LOPEZ Staff Writer
IMPERIAL — About two years ago, Evangelina Jackson began the vocational nursing program at Imperial Valley College, while her son, Frankie Cortez, began the registered nursing program, also at the local college.
While their paths never crossed during class or rotations at the local hospitals, they both shared in the late-night study sessions and struggles of going through the rigorous programs.
Now, the two are also celebrating together as Friday (December 12) marked both their graduations from their respective programs.
Jackson graduated during a 3 p.m. ceremony were she was pinned by her sons and vice versa during Cortez's ceremony later Friday night.
Cortez said it was hard to put into words what it meant to graduate from the program and see his mother fulfill her dreams at the same time.
"She always wanted to be a nurse because her mother was a nurse in Mexico," Cortez said. "It was a later revelation for me."
Cortez described the past two years as a rigorous wrestling match that could have gone either way.
"I think that's the best way I can describe it," he said with a laugh.
Susan Carreon, associate dean of nursing and allied health at Imperial Valley College, saw the two go through the programs and said it is really special to see Jackson and Cortez achieve their degrees together because each of them has succeeded in a very difficult and challenging program of study.
"I know they are very close and so proud of what each other has accomplished," she explained.
In addition to succeeding in challenging areas of study, Carreon said they both had the qualities needed in great nurses.
"Both of them exemplify a 'caring' concern for their patients to an outstanding degree," she explained. "It is what we expect from all our nursing graduates, but Evangelina and Francesco are special -- it must have started with their family values. They both have a giving spirit that has been recognized by our faculty and staff here at IVC."
Jackson was selected as the outstanding VN student at IVC's Student Award Banquet last spring and Cortez served as a tutor for the pre-nursing students and is the first to volunteer to help with department events Carreon said.
"They are both high energy and technically skilled as well and will make outstanding nurses," she said.
Both Jackson and Cortez overcame significant obstacles to get to their ceremonies on Friday, Carreon explained, saying Cortez was the first to tell others that he epitomized the "bad boy" with his actions and attitudes in his earlier years.
"I did get into trouble," Cortez said with a laugh.
Yet now that both Cortez and Jackson have achieved their goals , the only thing left for them to do is begin helping patients.
"We definitely want to stay in the Imperial Valley and help our families and our community," Cortez said.
No parking permit for students required during these dates: 12/10/14 – 01/08/15
Online parking permit: $15.00 per vehicle
Additional vehicle: $10.00
IVC Campus Safety & Parking Control Office will begin ticketing for parking violations in student spaces on January 9, 2015.
Note: tickets are issued for reserved (faculty/staff), disabled, metered, 15-minute, and no parking spaces year around.
Have you ever had to wait in line in order to buy your parking permit for IVC? Well, now you don't have to!
The Campus Safety and Parking Control Department is proud to announce a new online parking permit ordering and delivery process. This system, provided by Parking Plus, enables our students to order their semester parking permit online and have the permit mailed directly to them.
From the IVC Homepage, follow these steps:
When you order your permit, please be prepared to enter the following personal and vehicle information you will be using the permit with:
Summer permit fees are $15 for vehicles and $12.00 for motorcycles.
Note: Immediately after purchasing your parking permit online, you have the option to print a temporary 10-day pass while you wait for your parking permit to arrive in the mail.
Please contact the Campus Safety and Parking Control Department at 760-355-6308 if you have any questions or encounter any parking difficulties.
By CHELCEY ADAMI Staff Writer | 0 comments
What was initially a letter bearing bad news to an El Centro woman morphed into a beautiful gesture between a large group of Valley residents this week.
Laura Felisa Hale, 62, has lived at a home on Euclid Avenue for more than 35 years, and in October, she was surprised to receive a letter from the city of El Centro stating that she couldn't park her van on the grass.
In order to avoid a $500 fine, she would need to either put in pavers or a concrete driveway. Hale called the city and spoke to a woman who was "very nice" and gave her an extension to Nov. 22.
However, "I came to the conclusion that I'll just go to jail if I can't do it. I didn't know what to do," Hale said. "I was kind of dumbfounded because I had lived here so very long."
Having a cemented driveway was a dream of Hale's for many, many years. Her husband of 48 years suffers from dementia resulting from a car accident years ago, and as his caretaker, she struggled many times helping him over the uneven and hole-filled front yard grass.
Hale then went to Home Depot to try to get information on pavers "because they'd always been so good to me and always so courteous."
A cheerful and active woman, she said she doesn't get out as much as she used to but enjoys exploring Home Depot and talking to the workers there, even purposefully parking on the far end of the parking lot so she can make a full-round once inside "to say 'hi' to everyone,'" she said.
She showed an employee there the letter, and the employee made a copy, telling Hale she'd get back to her once she had more information about the project.
Soon, Home Depot pro desk sales associate Hector Oceguera called and, to her surprise, he said would come to the house and help.
"He told me no, we're not going to do the pavers because pavers will move over time. He said we're going to put in cement," Hale said. "Hector said he'd take care of it."
While projects like installing a concrete driveway normally cost between $5,000 and $6,000, Home Depot agreed to donate materials for the job, and Oceguera put in a call to his old teacher Jose Velasquez from Imperial Valley College, who soon promised the help of students from his construction class for the labor.
"It served as a practice so it's a win-win for everybody," Velasquez said. "It's to give back to the community. It's nice helping out. ... It's our first time and we looking forward to doing it more often."
One student, Luis Chavarin, realized he was also Hale's neighbor and offered to come by to water the concrete to help it set after the project finished on Saturday.
And after one more short phone call to Gibson & Schaefer Inc., the Heber company agreed to donate the concrete for the job.
Soon, workers were bustling with equipment in front of Hale's normally quiet home, and from inside the front living room, Hale marveled at the activity outside.
"Getting my husband in and out of the van, I always wanted it. I was just amazed that all these years inside me thinking, 'God, someday, someday,'" Hale said. "We're going to get a cement driveway, and it helps me to help him."
She made food and drinks for the workers every day of the three-day project to show her gratitude.
"We could barely work with all the goodies the last couple of days," Oceguera said while laughing.
"I had never met Hector and it's like, wow, little angels have come to help me with this project," she said.
Hale said she was particularly glad her 7-year-old grandson Daniel was able to see the kind act, and he excitedly made handprints and spelled out his name in a corner of the concrete.
"This will be forever a memory. ... This is really exciting that this is happening," she said.
For Oceguera, the decision to help was simple.
"Good things come back," he said. "If you do good deeds, they come back."
And in a special addition, some of the workers will return Monday to finish details on the driveway as well as to brighten the area with a little landscaping of soil, planters and flowers.
"I'm very thankful. I believe God gets the credit with this one," Hale said. "Besides a $500 fine, who would have known this would have turned into a good thing? It's something I've dreamed about for years."
The original article can be found on the IV Press website.
IMPERIAL — Yazmin Arellano Torres recently read a study that said 81 percent of young girls introduced to engineering are interested in it, but only 13 percent of those girls continue on that career path.
"An attributing factor was that many of the girls didn't know anyone personally who was an engineer," Arellano Torres said. "And many girls believe that because it is a male-dominated area, it is hard. But that's simply not the case. And that's why I'm here."
Arellano Torres, a civil engineer working for the city of Brawley, was the keynote speaker of the Young Latina Leadership Conference, which was hosted Saturday by MANA de Imperial Valley at Imperial Valley College.
The all-day conference was free and open to seventh-, eighth- and ninth-grade girls from around the Imperial Valley. The conference included topics such as college, career paths, career mentors, personal development, health and social media.
"Many of the presenters come from a wealth of professional areas such as law, law enforcement, human resources, communication and engineering," said Denise Cabanilla, member of the MANA board. "Our goal is to provide young girls with encouragement and allow them to dream big and pursue their dreams. We want to let them know the people in the community that support them."
Thirteen-year-old Reyes Benavente wants to go to college and become an engineer. Neither of her parents went to college and she wants to make sure she follows the correct path to get there.
"I learned that you need good grades and not to spend too much time on social media," she said. "I have to always study and do my homework."
Like Reyes, many of the young girls attending the conference want to follow the educative course to college.
"I learned about what you need to do and what your options are," 13-year-old Savannah Contreras said.
"Also, we learned about what the qualifications are for college," Faith Felix, 13, added.
13-year-old Jennifer Gastelum agreed.
"My favorite part of the conference was the college prep part," she said.
The young women had a plethora of guidance available, including April Mazone, who came down from San Diego to partake in the conference. Cabanilla hopes to triple or even quadruple the amount of presenters and participants of the event.
"It's the first time we've done this in a long time, we definitely want to re-introduce this back," she said.
Arellano Torres hoped the young girls walked away with plenty of knowledge to pursue careers they are passionate about.
"I try to inspire young ladies to go into the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math program and explain the major discipline that goes along with it and how they can apply that to everyday life."
Original article can be found on the IV Press website.
The Winter/Spring 2015 Course Schedule Information is now online!
For those of you looking to get a head start researching the classes you'd like to take in the Winter/Spring, you can now browse the printable version of our Winter/Spring 2015 schedule. We've also gone ahead and broken down the schedule into individual sections as well to make it easier to print just the information you need!
IMPERIAL — In order to fulfill their civic duty in the upcoming November election, students at Imperial Valley College took the time between classes and lunch breaks to register to vote during a Rock the Vote event at the local community college here Tuesday afternoon.
The Fall 2014 Course Schedule Information is now online!
For those of you looking to get a head start researching the classes you'd like to take in the Fall, you can now browse the printable version of our Fall 2014 schedule. We've also gone ahead and broken down the schedule into individual sections as well to make it easier to print just the information you need!
Read about changes to the following: