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Working on parents sending their kids to college

April 28, 2002|By Jennifer Ralton-Smith, Staff Writer, Dateline: Calexico

Lourdes Juárez is proud of her academic qualifications — she has a master's degree in nursing from University of California, San Francisco and works as a pediatric nurse-practitioner.

But the asset she is proudest of is her parents.

On Saturday, Juárez addressed a parent workshop at the Excellence in Education conference for parents hosted by the Imperial County Post Secondary Consortium of Higher Education and the University of California Office of the President.

The conference, at San Diego State University-Imperial Valley campus in Calexico attracted a large crowd of parents, some accompanied by young children, all eager to learn exactly what was involved in sending a child to college.

Standing before a group of some 20 parents, Juárez spoke passionately of the need for parents to encourage their children to go to college.

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"I know it was so hard for my parents to let their daughter go away to college and I am so glad they were strong enough to do it," Juárez said holding back tears as she spoke. "I know my mother cried and cried when I went away to college, but still my parents have always encouraged me to follow my dreams."

Juárez and fellow panelist Yvonne Valdez of Calexico spoke candidly of their college-going experiences in the hour-long workshop Saturday morning.

Valdez, who has a master's degree in education from UC Berkeley, likened her going away to college as being similar to the experience her family faced when it migrated to the U.S. from Mexico.

"You go to a different place and you have to make your life there. You have no resources and you don't know anybody. It was very difficult for me at first but with my family's help I got through it," Valdez said, her arms around her mother and sister as she spoke.

Parents were encouraged to address questions to Juárez and Valdez and their respective family members, also part of the panel.

One father asked anxiously if his daughters would be safe living on campus. Another parent was worried about paying for books and tuition.

In other workshops being staged simultaneously throughout the campus, parents were presented with a complete A-Z of getting their children — and themselves — ready for the experience of their children going to college.

Explaining the central aim of the workshops, Rosa Moreno, assistant dean for student affairs at SDSU, said, "Parents need to be aware of what it takes for their children to go to a four-year college."

Standing in the Rollie Carrillo Quad, Moreno went on

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