What do a group of veteran rock 'n' rollers from East L.A. do for thrills between tours?
They go back to school.
"Goose bumps" was the reaction Los Lobos drummer Louie Perez registered Thursday as he and other members of the renowned rock band received plaques honoring their contribution to a children's elementary and preschool at Whittier College where a building will now bear their name.
The group has raised more than $40,000 during two benefit concerts at the college, all of which was invested in the expansion of Broadoaks Children's School, where children of some of the band members have attended classes.
During the school's 90th anniversary celebration, Broadoaks administrators pronounced their latest building, a two-classroom unit completed in September, the Los Lobos Learning Center. After the brief ceremony, band members' children joined their fathers in touring the building for the first time.
Chatting afterward on the steps, Perez defended what he described as the irony of a rock band promoting education.
"When you have children your priorities change a great deal," he said. "We're parents and we're concerned about the future of our children."
Guitarist Cesar Rosas added that the band has less time to perform benefit concerts than during its earlier days, so choosing which causes to promote must reflect its concerns. Education has inevitably surfaced as a top priority, he said.
"What they're doing [at Broadoaks] is great," Rosas said.
Since 1985 the 250-student school has added instruction for first- through sixth-graders, including children with learning disabilities as well as academically gifted pupils, to its previous preschool curriculum. It also serves as a laboratory and training center for student teachers, where this year more than 300 college students attended.