I really enjoyed reading "The Class of '89" (Special Report, June 7). As a member of the class of '89 from a high school in La Puente, I can relate to a lot of the struggles these students endured and continue to endure. I am one of the few who struggled to "get out." In a couple of weeks I am receiving my PhD from UC San Diego, and my husband Miguel, my son and I are moving to New England so that I may begin my position as an assistant professor at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst.
This will be a big change for us. We live with my single mother in Baldwin Park so that I may finish and we can save money. I think this is an issue that many people from my generation still have to deal with--you got out, but what about the rest of the familia? Luckily, all my siblings and I graduated from UCLA and don't have to worry about that issue, but I know many people who do.
Department of Communication
UC San Diego
Thank you for publishing that uplifting feature about Belmont's Class of '89. I had the privilege and joy of teaching at Belmont for five years during the '80s and can attest to the uniqueness and "can-do" attitude of those proud Sentinels. In spite of what most would consider to be insurmountable odds of inner-city new-immigrant status, notions of victimization or defeatism were alien to the majority of my students. Instead, they forged ahead with positive, cooperative attitudes, a desire to work hard and an unusual pride in their school.
Although Belmont was terribly overcrowded, I remember being amazed at the tightly packed throngs of students in the halls quietly heading for class without pushing or jostling. Trash and graffiti were rarely seen. Our students competed with the "best of them" and performed well in band and drill team competitions, the Academic Decathlon and art contests.
I found Robert J. Lopez and Rich Connell's articles very inspiring and insightful. I am a Belmont High alumnus, Class of 1980, and how fitting it is that this article appears in The Times when my 20-year class reunion is fast approaching, come July.
It is good to see Belmont High get some good press for a change other than the nasty debacle of the Belmont Learning Complex.
Through the '70s, '80s and up to the present Belmont has always been a multiracial school. During my years at Belmont, the International Show was held every year, allowing students to participate in a song-and-dance show representing their national origins. I remember school life at Belmont being one of racial harmony and tolerance. Even then, Belmont was overcrowded, as it is today. I guess not much has changed.
But like the Class of '89, I'm sure my classmates have struggled and triumphed and/or are still struggling. No matter--we're only human. And this article about these individuals interviewed showed exactly that--our strengths and weaknesses and the choices made.