Orangethorpe Learning Center
When Orangethorpe Learning Center opened in 1995, our neighbor María Bertilia Solares brought her two little boys so we could help them with their homework. Jesse was six years old and William was five. They were both in kindergarten. Both boys attended OLC nearly every day until they graduated from the sixth grade in 2001. They were the first students to attend our "escuelita" all the way from K through 6.
Director Norm Todd and all the volunteers who knew these boys at OLC enjoyed helping them and watching them grow up. They soon learned to read and write and became interested in dinosaurs. In the May 1998 issue of Fun Times, we reported:
"Besides using the computers for their homework, some students are beginning to write very original and creative stories. The Solares brothers, William and Jesse, are big dinosaur fans and are creating really interesting stories about the adventures of those huge creatures who lived on Earth millions of years ago."
Although past issues of Fun Times often mention William and Jesse, we couldn't find any of the Solares boys' literary masterpieces in our archives. But they left their mark on our neighborhood in another way. Those were the days of the Jurassic Park films and when St. Jude Medical Center offered a summer program in Gilbert Park, one of the boys suggested it be called Dinosaur Park. The name stuck and some of us still have our dinosaur t-shirts and our memories of summers in the park with the neighborhood kids.
After the Solares family moved away to Colton, California, Jesse and William entered Rialto High School. This month they graduated and invited some of their friends from OLC to attend. The graduation ceremony was in a baseball stadium at the foot of the beautiful San Bernardino Mountains. These young men are now more than 6 feet tall. They plan to attend college in the Fall. We are very pleased and proud to have known them and their family and to have played a part in their lives. Congratulations, Jesse and William!
Orangethorpe United Methodist Church's new Latino Pastor, Rev. Sergio Camacho, visited OLC recently to cook and serve burritos and chicken stew at snack time. Pastor Sergio is a world-class chef and all of us, students, volunteers and parents, really enjoyed the food he prepared. We hope to cooperate with the Latino Ministry to offer our families new programs this Fall.
Orangethorpe Learning Center is closed for the summer. We look forward to reopening for 2007-2008, the fourteenth school year in which we've served the families of southwest Fullerton, on Monday, September 10. We will contact parents and volunteers during the summer to begin planning for our reopening. Students and parents, invite your friends and neighbors to be a part of our "escuelita" in the Fall!
We're grateful to the following for their recent donations of funds, supplies and equipment to our homework center:
One of our new OLC board members is Kitty Jaramillo, a neighbor and Fullerton community leader. Another is Nedda Soriano, a member of Orangethorpe United Methodist Church who brings us more than thirty years experience as a pre-school director. That's Nedda in the photo below with one of our students. Welcome to our family, Kitty and Nedda!
We are saddened to report the recent passings of Gretchen Follett and Lee Stoughton who served as volunteer tutors at OLC in its earlier years. We'll miss them both in our church and in our community.
We're grateful for the volunteers who joined us recently -- Willy Soriano, our Mormon missionary friends, Elders Kafton, Burch and Fuchs, and several youths from local junior highs and high schools. Our children have really enjoyed your helping them with their homework.
Would you like to serve at OLC as a volunteer tutor? If so, please contact Chuck, Nedda or any other OLC leader during the summer.
Our volunteer tutors, and K/1 teacher Patricia Liu, have enjoyed helping twin sisters Kimberly and Jennifer with their homework. Both girls are very enthusiastic learners. Their brother Greg is a 5th grader who also attends OLC. Their older sister Nohemí graduated from OLC in June 2000 and attends Fullerton College. Their mother María Cruz frequently helps out in the K/1 room.