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 Student Spotlight: Esmerelda Alcala Torres

When Esmerelda Alcala Torres started at 37ECB about six months ago, she was very quiet and shy. Since then, she has built upon her leadership skills as a student ambassador at the school.

She was honored by the San Diego County Board of Education Feb. 14 for her hard work and dedication when she had the chance to sit in as the student board representative.

"I am thankful to be here and grateful for the support I have received," she said. "I feel blessed that I'm being recognized for the hard work I have done at 37ECB."

The student ambassadors at 37ECB meet regularly to provide important input to educators and help to build school culture and engagement.

Esmerelda plans to go to college and become a social worker or a nurse. She has the heart and skills needed to thrive in those fields, Site Administrator Gretchen Rhoads said.

She's getting valuable work experience though an internship with the Pathways to Justice Careers for Youth program.

The 37ECB campus is part of SDCOE's Juvenile Court and Community Schools. It offers an alternative for students who want a smaller learning environment or were referred by Probation, social services, or school district officials. The school provides practical, inquiry-based learning opportunities that teach core academic subjects through the posing of questions, problems, and scenarios.

Each month, the County Board of Education recognized another student from SDCOE's Juvenile Court and Community Schools at its regular meeting.

"It's always one of my favorite parts of the meetings to get to know these hardworking and inspiring students," said Guadalupe González, president of the County Board of Education.

In addition to giving the board a chance to honor the students, having them participate in the meetings also gives the students valuable experience in leadership, said Dr. Paul Gothold, San Diego County Superintendent of Schools.

Photo: Esmerelda Alcala Torres receives an award from board member Mark Powell honoring her as the student representative to the County Board of Education at its Feb. 14 meeting.