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BOYLE HEIGHTS : Roosevelt Students Learn Motivation

October 25, 1992|MARY ANNE PEREZ

Jennifer Villa looks up to Madonna, reads Danielle Steel and hopes to become an actress. Lucy Chavez looks up to her dad, looks forward to doing community service and wants to study genetics when she gets out of high school.

They are two of the 22 students involved in AIM (Accelerated Instruction and Motivation) for Success, a program in its second year at Roosevelt High School. It is designed to help students meet their goals by focusing on daily tasks. The after-school program is open to all high school and college students as well as dropouts.

Villa said she wants to improve her writing, so she focuses on that in her work. Chavez said she signed up for the program because of the community service it offers. Others say they want to improve their public-speaking skills or overcome shyness.

"We know that any student has the ability to reach their maximum capacity, but because they're in classroom settings where maybe they don't like the teacher or the subject is boring or they just aren't into it, they're classified as not having what it takes to make the grade," said program director Paco Quinones. "We motivate them to learn."

Students said other programs on campus are geared more specifically toward academics and getting into college, whereas AIM emphasizes academic study as well as developing social skills.

"This shows you how--with the self-esteem, public speaking and community service--to be more aware of everything, not just one thing," said Chavez, 16.

The students meet twice weekly and are rewarded with points through reading, writing and arithmetic assignments.

Two weeks ago, many of the students earned 500 points and won tickets to the East Los Angeles Classic football game between Roosevelt and Garfield high schools by attending the meetings, making presentations on current events and completing other assignments. Last week they earned journals and binders for assignments in math and reading.

But academic work is only a part of the program's format, said Quinones, a Roosevelt graduate. The students also earn points for community service. Last week, for example, they volunteered to help at the Hollenbeck Inner-City Games.

Some students also attend Saturday workshops with professional actors to learn to speak in public and serve after-school internships with local businesses.

"We encourage them to make a decision and follow up on that decision because that is the only way they reach success," Quinones said. "It becomes a habit because they see small, immediate successes evolve into success on a larger scale."

During the year, the students raise money through events such as carwashes and a planned Halloween dance to take a trip at the end of the school year. They hope to travel to the campus of El Rito Northern New Mexico City College, where they spent a week last year.

"That will give them time to reflect, to look at what life outside of East L.A. is," Quinones said. "We're creating leaders who can live their life in a constructive fashion."

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