Los Angeles, CA, December 29, 2011 --(PR.com
)-- Politicians invited to college classrooms to inspire students
Professor Rosalyn Kahn teaches seven classes in three college districts as well as two high school outreach classes. Five classes are in public speaking and two are conversational English. The students in these classes often are faced with the harsh realities that life can present. Many of them are immigrants and are learning English for the first time. Each day along with Professor Kahn's curriculum, she tries to share valuable life lessons.
“Never before has it been more important to share stories of inspiration with my students,” she says. “Let me tell you about our latest inspiration.”
Recently, State Senator Kevin De Leon came to speak to her Franklin High School class. During his brief presentation he shared his struggles. He explained his path to becoming an assemblyman. De Leon’s single mother had only a 3rd grade education. They lived in one of San Diego’s poorest neighborhoods.
He informed her students that he was never “academic brain”, but through perseverance he ended up at UCSB. After three quarters, he decided to drop out rather than be kicked out. He then began to teach English classes in Santa Barbara. There was a push to increase enrollment. He made it his job to recruit other Hispanics to a place where they could learn from a person like himself. He then persuaded his friends to get involved. Once he established these connections, he became their go-to person for various needs. He eventually led an organization called One Stop Immigration.
He later returned to college, receiving his degree from Claremont College. By this time he had filled in the gaps and his real world experiences made learning that much easier. During his talk he stressed to the students that “going to college opens up a number of doors – doors that might otherwise not have been opened."
His path had quite a few more steps, beginning with the California Teacher’s Association, National Educator’s Association, labor organizer, Assemblyman and currently the State Senator from the 22nd district. Summing up all of these experiences he said, “There are two keys to success: hard work and creativity.” He told Professor Kahn's students that with these two things the world would open up to them.
His story also became an inspiration to Prof. Kahn. She also grew up in San Diego and attended UCSB. In her 13 years teaching she has taught a wide range of students from a diversity of backgrounds. Her longest stretch of teaching has been with the students of LA City College during the last 10 years. They hold a special place in her heart. Creativity and hard work are two of her greatest assets. She may have the same core requirements each semester but there is always something new that she adds to her courses.
Throughout the semester, in her various institutions, she brings in other speakers. The Mayor of El Monte, Andre Quintero, spoke to her high school students at Monte Vista, where he shared his own story of being a scrawny little kid who kept trying to get elected to office for his high school Associate Student Body. He too had four failed attempts prior to getting elected to his post.
This later propelled him to run for President of the Board of Trustees at Rio Hondo College. He served one term as Mayor of El Monte and recently got re-elected to serve a 2nd term as the Mayor of El Monte. He too encouraged Kahn’s students to work hard on completing their courses and told them that persistence does pay off.
In her college classes, she has invited the campus Financial Aid department to come to explain how to deal with the increasing fees at a college institution. Likewise, she invited a Career Counselor to share the changing status of employment and the need to not only earn good grades but gain some actual hands-on experience outside the classroom.
Kahn believes strongly in students obtaining practical work experience. In her English as Second Language class at Los Angeles City College, her students do volunteer work known as Service Learning. Students work with Aids Project Los Angeles, the Red Cross, the Los Angeles City Childcare Center, and 826LA program, which offers tutoring to children. Some of her students learned of a special program in which they complete100 hours and can earn a special certificate from President Barack Obama for their volunteer work. She was pleased to learn that five of her students had committed to earn the 100 hour hours well after her class was finished. A number of others are going to continue doing the volunteer work as well. Her students are inspiring others and making a difference in the world. Imagine the inspiration that you can bring to our world in these troubled times.