Thursday, December 22, 2011

Keeping Music Education Alive Despite Budget Cuts

Reporter: Ana Tintocalis



Schoolchildren across California have been performing holiday concerts this month. Given all the budget cuts to education, it might be surprising that arts and music programs still exist, but they do. At one San Francisco high school, a financial commitment voters made to the arts is paying off.Reporter: Ana Tintocalis

Mission Bears Honored by Mayor Ed Lee

By: Annie Pham


The Mission High School Bears made history on Thanksgiving Day when they won their first San Francisco Academic Athaletic Association championship in 57 years. This week it became official, as Mayor Ed Lee proclaimed Dec. 12 “Mission High School Football AAA Championship Day.”



On hand for the celebration were 49ers alumni Dwight Clark, Guy McIntyre and Dennis Brown.
It was a special occasion, notes Jared Muela, the 49ers’ youth football coordinator:
“This championship is the second enormous victory for the team this season. The first came on September 3rd, when they again were able to put a team on the field and get the 2011 season underway. Two years ago Mission High School almost had to discontinue their football program because of poor grades and participation. Coach Albano took this challenge head on and has resurrected a program most thought would fall by the wayside.”
View more photos at MissionLocal.com

Monday, December 12, 2011

Bucking a punitive trend, San Francisco lets students own up to misdeeds instead of getting kicked out of school

 
How one big-city district cut suspensions and expulsions — and why they may rise again

Tony Litwak, second from right, the director of the Peer Courts
program in San Francisco, has recruited more than 20 students
from schools across the city to work with misbehaving students
and keep them in class.
Photo by Jason Winshell / SF Public Press
Instead of being kicked out for fighting, stealing, talking back or other disruptive behavior, public school students in San Francisco are being asked to listen to each other, write letters of apology, work out solutions with the help of parents and educators or engage in community service. All these practices fall under the umbrella of “restorative justice” — asking wrongdoers to make amends before resorting to punishment.
The program launched in 2009 when the Board of Education asked schools to find alternatives to suspension and expulsion. In the previous seven years, suspensions in San Francisco spiked by 152 percent, to a total of 4,341 — mostly African Americans, who despite being one-tenth of the district made up half of suspensions and more than half of expulsions. This disparity fed larger social inequalities: two decades of national studies have found that expelled or suspended students are vastly more likely to drop out of school or end up in jail than those who face other kinds of consequences for their actions.
“My first act as a school board member was to push a student out of his school,” recalled Jane Kim, a former community organizer who as a member of Board of Education needed to approve all expulsions.
“That’s not what I expected to do,” she said, especially when it seemed to exacerbate the social inequalities she had pledged to fight in her position. Board colleague Sandra Lee Fewer said, “Sixty percent of inmates in the San Francisco county jail have been students in the San Francisco public school system, and the majority of them are people of color. We just knew we had to somehow stop this schoolhouse-to-jailhouse pipeline.”
Fewer and Kim, along with colleague Kim–Shree Maufas, led the three-year process for the board to officially adopt restorative justice. Though the task force charged with implementing the policy received only modest funding, expulsions have fallen 28 percent since its inception. Less serious cases have shown even more success.  Non-mandatory referrals for expulsion (those not involving drugs, violence or sexual assault) have plunged 60 percent, and suspensions are down by 35 percent.
Board members and many educators say restorative practices have kept students in school and out of the criminal justice system. “We’re holding kids more accountable than we did before,” said Kim, who now serves on the city’s Board of Supervisors. “In restorative justice, you have to actually have the offender and the victim sit down and discuss what happened and how the offender can make it better.”
But the data — along with interviews with parents, students and educators — reveal that progress so far is halting and uneven. Critics say that’s because the transition from punitive to restorative justice is underfunded and haphazardly evaluated. Suspensions and expulsions are actually rising in some schools that have yet to embrace restorative practices, often in low-income, high-crime neighborhoods. At one, Thurgood Marshall High School, suspensions have almost tripled since 2007. The resulting picture is a school-by-school patchwork, at best an unfinished project to reform the traditional juvenile discipline paradigm.
 
Read more at SFPublicPress.org

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Shop class retooled for future at O'Connell High

By: Jill Tucker, Chronicle Staff Writer

O'Connell High School's Gus Amador (left) offers advice to
Lucerito Martinez as carpentry students work together to
rough-frame a stage being built for the industrial arts
building's unveiling today.
San Francisco school officials are to unveil a $1.1 million barn-like industrial space on the John O'Connell High School campus today, a mark of the district's revitalized effort to bring back old-school shop classes with 21st century twists.

The new building, the first solar-powered site in the city's school district, will hold the power tools for traditional carpentry classes immediately, but have the flexibility to accommodate high-tech courses like robotics or aeronautics at some point down the line, said David Goldin, district chief facilities officer.
It's big enough that students could wheel in a small airplane and take it apart, Goldin said.

The space at the Mission neighborhood school offers students the hands-on, career-focused learning of decades past, while including enough math and other academics to satisfy the requirements of a college-prep curriculum.

This is definitely not your father's woodshop class. In a sense, the new building and the program inside combine old-school vocational education with college track rigor, a rejection of the either-or model of generations past.

Variety of skills

Students will be expected to learn the basics - everything from hammering a nail to using a tape measure - as well as advanced skills like creating blueprints and building plans. For example, they will make a playhouse to the same specifications of a real house - only smaller.

"The skills that make you successful in college are the same skills that make you successful in careers," said Deputy Superintendent Richard Carranza.

The new building, funded by developer fees, will allow an expansion of the school's carpentry classes, which were restarted in 2008 after years of being on hiatus.

Classes are expected to begin in the building sometime in January, moving from a cramped classroom where saws share space with desks and where there's only enough room for about 15 students because of safety concerns, said teacher Guy Amador.

"The kids are knocking down my door to get into my classes," said Amador, who is looking forward to the move.

"I want them to go home with all their fingers," he said.

Shop classes were largely phased out over the last couple of decades as schools focused on pushing all students toward college rather than the frowned-upon tracking of some kids into skilled labor.
But in recent years, educators have pushed back, realizing that vocational-focused classes have always served a sector of students that won't go to college, giving them insight and experience into lucrative careers.

Monday, December 5, 2011

On Land and in the Bay, Innovation Tackles Truancy

Lianne Milton for The Bay Citizen
Downtown HS students build and sail boats as part of a "project-based" curriculum designed to decrease truancy.
“It’s so foggy you can’t even see the Golden Gate Bridge,” said Austin, a 17-year-old student at Downtown High School in Potrero Hill, as he worked the oars. When the students passed an old sailboat, their instructor, Jeff Rogers, told them it was built 120 years ago in Hunters Point. 

“Hey,” Austin said. “My ’hood.” 

If not for the boating expedition, Austin might have still been home, in bed, instead of in school. But on that day his classroom happened to be a sailboat. Before coming to Downtown, he was a chronic truant in the San Francisco school system, one of the thousands of students at risk of dropping out. Now he attends school about 80 percent of the time. 

For decades, teachers and school districts have battled truancy, struggling to engage students who cope with economic hardship, community strife, domestic violence and drug abuse. Some students avoid school because they are not interested or because they are being bullied. But since 2008, in part because of programs like those at Downtown, the San Francisco district’s chronic truancy has dropped by 31 percent. 

Downtown High is a continuation school, with one of the two largest concentrations of truants in the city; the other is Ida B. Wells High School in the Western Addition. There are no ringing class bells or six-period school days at Downtown; the curriculum is “project-based,” meaning students choose one course each semester to fulfill all of their academic requirements. Math, science, history and English are taught in hands-on classes in music, nature, drama and social movements. 

Jaime Osorno, Downtown’s counselor, came to the school four years ago after working in the district as a truancy specialist. “I chose this because I felt that we were offering something different to students,” Mr. Osorno said. “When I was in other schools, it was like, ‘Here’s your classes, good luck.’ ” 

Most of the 275 students at Downtown High have exhausted efforts by other schools to get them on track to graduate, including parent meetings, support programs and mediations with the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office. As a result, “attendance drives everything” at Downtown, said Mark Alvarado, the principal. 

At Downtown, success means that a student attends school at least 80 percent of the time and earns at least 17.5 credits each quarter. Roughly 100 students achieve that mark, up from about 25 in 2007, but the numbers fluctuate weekly. 

The students fall into three categories. Those with 80 percent attendance or better are in Cohort A; students in Cohort B show up 40 percent to 80 percent of the time; and some students in Cohort C have never even set foot on campus. 

“These are the kids that make me nervous,” Mr. Alvarado said of Cohort C, adding that few of them make it to graduation. Instead, he tries to connect those students to adult education and vocational training programs.
“Cohort B wants to graduate,” he said. “They could have dropped out already. They weren’t successful before for whatever reason, but they’re coming to school.” 

On the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, the school put on a holiday feast and a talent show. Mr. Alvarado estimated that 145 out of 275 students attended, a typical showing at Downtown.

S.F. schools struggle with more homeless kids

By: Jill Tucker, Chronicle Staff Writer

Brothers Rudy and Danny Nguyen wait for a storage locker 
site to open so their family can stow their bag of possessions.
Rudy Nguyen, 10, is homeless.

Last week, he was sleeping on the floor at a San Francisco drop-in homeless shelter with his parents and 3-year-old brother Danny. Thin mats kept them off hard linoleum.

In the last two months, he spent three nights at a bus shelter and a week on the streets, sleeping on his parents' laps in a park.

Yet every morning, Rudy Nguyen takes two Muni buses to San Francisco's Spring Valley elementary school, where the fourth-grader is expected to be ready to read, write and multiply numbers - like every other kid in school.

Rudy is among a growing number of San Francisco schoolchildren in homeless families who too often come to class cold, hungry and sleep-deprived, making learning difficult if not impossible.

"If you're not fed, if you're not warm, if you're not sleeping ... you can't turn that off and focus on double-digit multiplication," said Jessica Chiarchiaro, Rudy's fourth-grade teacher.

In the city's public schools, there are 2,200 homeless children, some in shelters, others in cars, or on couches, or in long-term hotel rooms. That's 400 more homeless children than a year ago.

They are among the most difficult children to teach, educators say, because their unstable lives often lead to frequent absences or tardiness, lethargy, health issues and behavioral outbursts.

Doing homework can be tough without a kitchen table.

And yet in the spring, these homeless children will take the same standardized test as students in Hillsborough, Piedmont and Beverly Hills where every physical and academic need is met - their heated bedrooms full of books, computers and educational toys, their kitchens stocked with food.

"We're being held accountable for these kids scoring a certain percentage correct on a standardized test," Chiarchiaro said of the homeless schoolchildren. "I wish public schools had more resources so we can help them."

Homeless students typically post scores below or far below grade level on those tests, landing at the opposite end of the achievement gap from kids with greater advantages.

Late for school


One recent morning, Rudy's parents, Sophorn "Julie" Sung and Tung Nguyen, juggled a bag of clothes, jackets and Rudy's 3-year-old brother, Danny, as they left the Oshun drop-in shelter in the Mission District. They weren't allowed to leave anything at the shelter for the day, so they headed to a local storage facility.
Rudy and his family waited outside until 8 a.m. when the storage gates opened. At Rudy's school, breakfast was being served.

Rudy hadn't eaten yet.

The family came to San Francisco from Dallas in September after Rudy's unemployed father believed he had a good-paying job in shipping and receiving waiting for him. The job didn't pan out.

They had sold everything to come to California, except for the few belongings in the storage locker.
"Oh, he's going to be late again," Sung said as she stashed the clothes for the day.

School was just starting when Rudy arrived 45 minutes later. He had been delayed because the 49 Mission Muni bus he and his family hoped to catch pulled away as they crossed the street. They caught the next bus.
On the way to school, Rudy didn't talk much.

"Mom, I'm hungry and cold," he said as he walked up the final hill toward Spring Valley elementary school.
His mom didn't respond.

2,200 homeless students

Friday, December 2, 2011

Budget cuts could jeopardize at-risk teen programs in SF

Career academies
Mike Koozmin/The Examiner
Teacher Valerie Ziegler, center, and student teacher
Lauren Karas, center left, lead a class at Lincoln High, 
\where three special academies could lose state aid.
Inez Vara attributes her academic success to the Green Academy, one of four career-focused schools-within-a-school at Abraham Lincoln High School.

When Vara was a freshman at Lincoln High, her earth sciences teacher suggested she sign up for the Green Academy, a program the school was starting the next year.

“I thought, ‘All it is, is save the whales, save the trees,’” she said. “But it was not what I expected.”

Now a senior, Vara has learned about recycling, waste management and climate change. She is taking Advanced Placement environmental science and applying to four-year colleges, and she hopes to have a career in foreign aid.

Participating schools must ensure that half the students entering an academy be deemed “at risk” of dropping out in the future. But despite the greater challenges faced by many academy students, a recently released study by researchers at UC Berkeley found that 95 percent of students in the state’s 500 career academies graduate on time, compared to 85 percent of all students statewide. Academy students also were more likely to pass graduation exams.

At Lincoln High, students said the study’s findings made sense.

“Abraham Lincoln is such a huge school,” Vara said. “In the academies, we create smaller communities. We build closer relationships with the teachers and closer relationships with each other. We’re not just another student in the hallway.”

Kitty Lam, a senior in Lincoln’s Teacher Academy, agreed.

“You’re with these people for so long,” Lam said, noting that students in each academy share the same small group of teachers for three years. “You strive for success. You can’t just let them down. The class, the teachers, we’re a family.”

The academies’ success may be in jeopardy, however.

Read more at the San Francisco Examiner: http://www.sfexaminer.com/local/education/2011/12/budget-cuts-could-jeopardize-risk-teen-programs-sf#ixzz1fOhypwDy

School Beat: High Schools – the Last Stop in School Searches



San Francisco voters were generous once again and passed Proposition A, the last in a trio of facilities bond measures to repair and refurbish our city’s public school buildings. Those among us who are touring schools as part of the student assignment process have had ample opportunity to view both the benefits of the previous two bond measures and the need for this last round. If only all school improvement efforts were as tractable as physical plant upgrades, we would be in great shape, but of course this isn’t so.

My family is currently looking at high schools for next year, so we are in our last-ever engagement with San Francisco Unified School District’s (SFUSD) school assignment system. This system has been the focus of much debate and angst over the years, no less so these days after being recently revised to more strongly weight a child’s home address, while at the same time attempting to prioritize choices for children likely to be experiencing educational disadvantages.

Because of past lawsuits, legally binding agreements, and a moral imperative to provide equal access to educational opportunities, SFUSD has not had a “simple” neighborhood assignment policy for years. Apparently voters understand the complexity of the situation we find ourselves in, as evidenced by the Proposition H advisory measure failing to pass.

Still, the very fact that such an advisory measure was on the ballot highlights how student assignment captures the majority of attention regarding school issues. But the problem with focusing so much energy on this one aspect of the school system is that it can only go so far in addressing a more fundamental issue – the inequalities in schools across our city and what we must do together to strengthen all of our schools. A positive attribute of our school system is that, within quite a burdensome set of financial and policy constraints, schools have developed in unique ways. Various types of programs and approaches are found from school to school; sizes are different; communities are different. These differences can present meaningful, distinct options for families.

The flip side of course, is that our schools are not individuating from a shared strong, baseline foundation. Disparities persist and because they are based in a multitude of factors, they are hard to tackle. One approach that was supposed to address resource inequities was the Weighted Student Formula (WSF), but this has not completely panned out. In this model, resources follow a student. If a student falls into certain categories that have specific funding associated with that category – say a student who is an English Language Learner – those monies go with that student, wherever they are, regardless of school. That works to a certain degree, but students don’t receive education like they do servings of food. Portions of education can’t be easily meted out on a student by student basis.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Cooking class gives high schoolers skills for life

 By: Jill Tucker, Chronicle Staff Writer

Students saute vegetables in donated cookware in Wells' Heat
of the Kitchen culinary arts program, taught by chef Cravens.
Juan Trujillo stood over the hot stove in the Ida B. Wells High School culinary arts kitchen sauteing chard in garlic-infused oil.

The San Francisco 17-year-old, in a chef's jacket and metal tongs in hand, eyed the odd-looking green leaves with red stems.

"I've never had chard, but it smells good," he said, still cautious. "But I like my salad cold."
He nonetheless pledged to give the hot leafy greens a try.

Preparing new kinds of food is part of the continuation high school's culinary curriculum, along with kitchen etiquette, knife skills and the art of handling a hot pan. But the program is about much more than cooking.
The 40 or so students enrolled in the classes each quarter must adhere to professional standards that include following rules, teamwork, reliability and pride of work, said their teacher and head chef, Alice Cravens.

Those are skills the teens need outside of a kitchen and school. They are attributes that build confidence as well as content for a resume, the teacher said.

The students at Ida B. Wells struggled in traditional high schools, falling far behind in credits. The school allows students to study at their own pace so they can catch up in academic courses and credits while preparing for a productive future that includes a much-needed high school diploma.

Career potential

The Heat of the Kitchen culinary arts program is an elective. It helps fulfill students' graduation requirements and offers them insight into a potential career, but it's also a fun reason to come to school, said Jasmine Navas, 16.

"I think it's a good opportunity to have students feel they can accomplish something," she said. "I look forward to coming to this class."

Other high schools in the district have cooking classes, but Ida B. Wells has the only culinary arts program in the district. Students who complete at least 20 hours in the course can sign up for job shadow opportunities at local restaurants.

The internships are a win-win for the teens and the city's food industry, said Daniel Scherotter, chef and owner of Palio D'Asti, which sponsored one of the school's students.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Chef wants SF students to not only eat healthy, but learn to cook as wel

By: Amy Crawford | 11/21/11 8:03 PM
From the Garden to the Table
Courtesy photo
Chef Jeffrey Smith wants San Francisco students
to not only eat healthy, but cook from scratch.
Healthy school food is a trendy cause in the Bay Area, but one chef is planning to take good nutrition a step further by having students learn to cook meals from scratch.

Jeffrey Smith, founder of the non-profit From the Garden to the Table, is working to raise $175,000 to build a solar-powered teaching kitchen at Everett Middle School, in the Mission.

“The people who are suffering most are low-income people,” said Smith, referring to rising rates of obesity, diabetes and other health problems across the United States. Everett serves many low-income, Latino students.

The middle school already has a garden, which was expanded this summer thanks to San Francisco Unified School District’s Green Schoolyard Program.

“Gardens are a wonderful thing for everyone,” said Everett Principal Richard Curci. “It’s nice to have things growing in a school setting. There’s nothing more satisfying than being able to go out and pick a snap pea and eat it.”

If Smith has his way, those snap peas and other vegetables from Everett’s garden will be part of healthy but kid-friendly meals prepared by students in their new green kitchen. Smith, who has worked in four-star restaurants, often gives cooking and nutrition lessons at area schools, and he hopes to turn those lessons into a full-year program at Everett.

“I give them things they can relate to,”  Smith said. “Once they do it themselves, it’ll stick.”

From the Garden to the Table expects to raise some $7,000 this month from fundraisers it has held at top San Francisco restaurants. Delfina, in the Mission, will donate a portion of its proceeds Tuesday night. Smith is also accepting donations at g2t.org.

Read more at the San Francisco Examiner: http://www.sfexaminer.com/local/education/2011/11/chef-wants-sf-students-not-only-eat-healthy-learn-cook-well#ixzz1eTeVelvb

Monday, November 7, 2011

A Hands-On Summer: San Francisco School District Interns Get to Work

By Richard Bermack
Contributing Writer and Photographer




Now in its third year, the San Francisco Unified School District summer intern program is hitting its stride. “Our placements are really starting to gel and become solid,” said Gus Amador, the program instructor and field supervisor. “We’ve learned from our past years, and the placements this year were of much more value to the interns, the contractors and the union.”

otj2.jpgWhen Organized Labor interviewed Amador last year, he stated that his goal for summer 2011 would be to concentrate on the quality of the placements rather than numbers. Last year the program had 20 interns. This year there were fewer interns, but he felt better about each of the placements. Now that he knows the formula for a good placement, he intends to advertise the program broadly next year, opening it up to more students. It is a paid internship.

This year he recruited primarily from the engineering and construction programs. Next year he will recruit from the math and science departments. One particular success this year was that, with the help of Michael Theriault and the San Francisco Building and Construction Trades Council, Amador was able to place students with Building Trades unions such as IBEW and the Ironworkers. He hopes to continue this next year.

Organized Labor visited interns at Martin Luther King Jr. Academic Middle School, working on a project by Cal Pacific; the Transbay Terminal, working with USR Corporation; and the offices of HerreroBoldt, planning the proposed construction of the California Pacific Medical Center on Van Ness and Geary.


Darren EasterlingDarren Easterling
Intern, URS Corporation, Transbay Terminal
I want to become a chemical engineer, but I think being around any discipline of engineering will help me get there. I’m getting a lot of information out of this internship. I’m learning how to deal with other contractors. I go to meetings where there are about 13 other contractors, and they all have to agree on work schedules and who works where.

It’s a tough job getting everybody on the same page. You have to be patient. I went to one meeting where the people were disagreeing and we had to stay an extra 30 minutes until we got consensus on what was going to happen.
URS is a major contracting firm that works with a lot of architects and engineers. Right now they are working on the Transbay Terminal and the high-speed rail system.

I went to one meeting where these guys were proposing a bike station where you can rent bikes and go all around the city. I didn’t realize everything that was involved in getting something like that going. There were a couple meetings where I got confused, but my co-worker explained everything to me.

I had no idea there would be so much personal interaction. I thought it would all be through e-mail. I think it’s really cool. I’m a guy who likes interacting with other people. There’s less confusion in person.
Klas BerghedeKlas Berghede
Production Planner, HerreroBoldt, CPMC

Working with all these interns helps me stay on task. They are very motivated and have a lot of ambition and drive. When you’ve been working on the same thing for a long time, it’s good to get a fresh perspective. The way they ask questions, you’re forced to re-examine what you are doing, and it gives you a new perspective.

Sometimes they can be challenging. You give them a task that you think will take them a day, and they’re done in a half hour wanting to know what’s next.

My role is in production planning, making sure we have all the permits. San Francisco is a very complex setting, and a lot of preparation work needs to happen. There is a process for everything, and you have to find out what it is and where you can secure the different permits to make it happen.

Kyle is helping me with setting up the on-boarding process that we need to have in place prior to beginning construction. When we hire someone, there are a lot of steps, such as insurance, before someone can come on board and start working. We had Kyle put together all the steps in the process for interns. It helps us because we didn’t know the step by step, and it helped him learn to develop a standard process. He was fun to work with and eager to learn.
Broderick PryorBroderick Pryor
Intern, HerreroBoldt, CPMC

We go to a lot of meetings and get insight into the construction and engineering fields. It’s really helpful. I learned a lot that will help me in the future. I plan to be a mechanical engineer and want to design roller coasters for theme parks. Roller coasters bring smiles to people, and I think that’s a good thing.

The internship has given me a chance to look at a lot of the sketches, learn how to read them and pronounce all the terms. It’s a really valuable experience. One time I went through the door plans for the building, counting the number of doors to prepare a report for approval by the fire marshals.

The other day they took us on a tour of Autodesk. I’ve used AutoCAD at school and really like it, so that was fun. Then we got to tour the technology museum.
Santiago BlissSantiago Bliss
Intern, Martin Luther King Jr. Academic Middle School

The best part is getting the experience of working on a job site. You don’t get that hands-on experience in a classroom. Here you get to see it really being done.

I’ve been working on the building plans and going around the job site doing a man count to see how many people are working here and from which companies and what machinery they are using.

It surprises me how much planning goes into school restoration. I never knew how much planning it would take until I got this internship.

Eventually I plan on going to college and studying quantum physics.

Felix GuzmanFelix Guzman
Project Manager


Santiago is working on the as-built drawings. On every job we have to produce a drawing recording all the changes and modifications. Part of the job requires walking around and counting all our subs. It’s a big help having the intern. I want to make sure that the experience helps prepare him for his future.
Justin WongJustin Wong
Intern, HerreroBoldt, CPMC
When I was a kid I was always interested in technology and thought engineering would be very useful. Engineers are needed everywhere.
I get to work with some really friendly co-workers. I’ve been using AutoCAD myself for 3-D modeling, but so far here I’ve mainly been using 2-D for making signs. But they have taught me a lot of things about the program. In the future I want to design robots.
The hardest things for me are the meetings. We go to meetings almost every day. There are usually 20 or 30 people in the meeting. Trying to keep track of everything that is going on from one meeting to another sometimes kind of hurts my brain. There’s lot of information they discuss and a lot of things going on. But I’m getting used to it.
Kyle LeeKyle Lee
Intern, HerreroBoldt, CPMC


I’m interested in aeronautics. My plans are to become an electrical engineer. I took a class at City College in electrical engineering and that was very interesting. I could also do mechanical engineering. I like working on engines, especially car engines. What I like about engineering is that you get to make stuff.

Everyone working here is very nice. You get to see all these different companies joining together to work on one project, building a hospital. You get to see the architects and engineers and a lot of other people working together. Gus Amador is a great teacher.

The hardest part is waking up in the morning; the best part is getting paid. In the summer you don’t think about going to sleep early until you wake up the next morning.