Our project is replete with personal success stories that represent our successes and we are proud to share a few.
La Clase Mágica Participants
The Duran children are one of our success stories. All four children were our first participants, the youngest, Sasha, was six months old back in 1989. And all four have rceived a college education, the youngest is in her second year of college, three have graduated from a state university, two have returned for further training—a teacher’s credential and a Masters’ Degree. Realizing that our program had a tremendous impact on her life, Sasha often uses her success story to inspire participants at one of our sites where she has been a site coordinator for the past 3 years. Selene, her older sister, finished her Bachelor’s degree at CSU San Marcos and is currently enrolled in a Master’s program in Multicultural Education. All four children as well as their mother attribute their success to our CASA Program La Clase Mágica.
Juan Gomez, who participated in our CASA Program La Clase Mágica when he was 10 years old, and who is now 25 years old declared that “The undergraduates inspired me a lot. I knew that I wanted to be like them. Especially Olga Vásquez, a Latina from UCSD wow! She worked as a model and she made me think that one day I could achieve the same.” The influence of La Clase Mágica was patent in Juan Gomez’s subsequent interest in technology, encouraging him to study Computer Science at College. “La Clase Mágica helped me to learn everything about computers. I used to teach adults of my community in the use of computers which I think it were very helpful for them and also for me. That encouraged me to apply for a Computer Science program at the university. I finally changed my mind and I ended studying Business but, the fact that I started in Computer Science has definitely much to do with my experience in La Clase Mágica.”
In the same way, Angel Chavarin now 21 years old insisted on the fact that “Interacting with university students made me feel that I could became like them one day.” Now holding a Two-year degree, Angel Chavarin stated that he will be definitely applying for the graduate school in the near future.
Also for Javier Linares, 25 years old, and a four-year degree graduate in Business Administration who says it “Is very likely that I will pursue graduate education. I think it is very important for my professional career that I complete a Master Degree.”
Past participant Nancy Chavarin declared: “The [undergraduate] students treated us as friends, not as children. It made us feel important and we wanted to be in their level. Besides, they came from a different culture and from their contact we learned a lot.”
Claudia Leal who participated in La Clase Mágica when she was 9 years old, eight years later she still recognizes the value of the program in building her self-esteem and ability to communicate in any professional setting: “The best part of the program is the confidence it gives you to express yourself in public and in front of others.”
Alex Carter now 19 years-old and who is currently involved in several volunteer activities in his community declared: “I think that the influence of La Clase Mágica is very important for constructing a social conscience about the Latino community and its social needs.”
Undergraduate and Research Participants Testimonials
CASA also impacts the undergraduate and graduate students who work with our programs; Dr. Angelica Marcello ( who taught the Practicum course 2008-2010) was so impacted by the program as a graduate student that she states, “It was so much that La Clase Mágica influenced me, that my dissertation topic was in fact based in children’s behavior at [one site].” And we at CASA expect that many of these hundreds of undergraduate and graduate students who have collaborated with CASA children will one day be among the faculty, researchers and other institutional representatives who will be in place on campuses throughout the state to ultimately welcome those same children they have worked with as new college entrants. We also expect that both these new undergraduate students and future institutional agents will be informed and prepared to meet the social and intellectual challenges of full and effective participation in this new global society.
Graduating Senior 2012 - "I just want to reiterate how much I appreciated to be a part of the research team this quarter. I can't believe the time flew by so fast. I really value what I learned and what I gained through all of my experiences with the children and from both of you as vast resources. This program has done miraculous work and I feel so honored to be a part of it. Being a part of this program has given me insight into what I want to do in the future since I love to work with kids and see them learn. I can't wait to hear what future projects are in store!"
Graduating Senior 2012- "LCM has really taught me so much in my under graduate years. Olga has really helped me become an experienced researcher. They’ve also made reading and writing enjoyable. I’m really thankful to have the blessing to work with LCM these past two years and hopefully I can continue to stay involved beyond my undergrad career."
Winter Quarter UG - "I really enjoyed having the opportunity for this experience at T.A.C.K.L.E. When I signed up for the class I dragged Mayra into taking it with me and I never thought it would change me as much as it has. I am so much more aware of development in children and the different processes for learning non-cognitive skills. Not only do the concepts we learned in class and the experiences we had at site affect our overall learning and application of the course material in class, but they affect how I now think about human interaction in my daily life. I am much more aware of the likely possibility that everyone has a different background and that our backgrounds can affect how we interact with others in order to learn and develop. At the T.A.C.K.L.E site in particular we also worked with the concept of culture and second language acquisition. This was particularly interesting to me because I was learning the culture and language of the Kumeyaay natives at the same pace as the T.A.C.K.L.E children were. I enjoyed working with the kids so much that I plan to continue next quarter and hopefully can see how having a familiar face might affect their willingness to open up and learn cooperatively."