LYNWOOD – When Patty Rodriguez attended Lynwood High School, she rose early every day to drive to Burbank, where she interned for the KIIS-FM Morning Show before school. After a full day of classes, the Class of 2000 graduate worked as a record store clerk at the mall, determined to forge a path for her future, which included college and career.
Today, Rodriguez still challenges herself with a rigorous schedule that encompasses literature, fashion design and broadcasting at KIIS-FM, where she has ascended to the position of Senior Producer for “On Air with Ryan Seacrest.”
Rodriguez shared her story of success with over 150 students and parents as Keynote Speaker during Lynwood Unified School District’s 18th Annual Alumni Conference and College Fair, held Sept. 16 at Firebaugh High.
“You have the power to make change for yourself, your family and your community,” Rodriguez said. “Set goals and advocate for what you believe in. Never forget where you came from. Growing up in Lynwood was special for me, I remember all of my favorite shops and restaurants. You will honor your community by working hard to make it a better place. Sin miedo!”
The Alumni Conference and College Fair is sponsored by the Lynwood Alumni Association (LAA), bringing together dozens of LUSD alums to conduct workshops, answer questions from students and dispense advice on college life and how to construct a successful career path.
“The goal of the Alumni Conference is to motivate and inspire our students to follow their dreams,” LUSD Board President Alma-Delia Renteria said. “Whether your dream is to attend an elite university, work as an entrepreneur, or return to your neighborhood to teach a new generation, no one delivers the message as effectively as Lynwood alumni.”
Renteria is a Lynwood High graduate who acted as president of the LAA for several years before being elected to serve on the LUSD Board of Education. Current LAA Conference Chair Yvette Torres is a 2011 graduate of Lynwood High and has returned to the District as a substitute teacher.
“It was so inspiring to see Patty come back and talk to the students,” Torres said. “They really connected with her message and left the conference convinced that they can attain a world-class education, that we will give them the tools they need to succeed.”
LUSD students – many of whom are taking Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate classes – had their choice of over 20 workshops that covered topics ranging from the college admission process, choosing majors and how to cope with rigorous academic schedules.
Nearly two dozen universities – among them USC, UCLA and Cal State Fullerton – set up tables where representatives discussed college life and financial aid. The Lynwood Partners Educational Foundation was present to acquaint attendees with details about their scholarship fund, which annually awards up to five high school graduates and alumni with scholarships ranging from $200 to $500.
Lynwood Unified retains such a sizable percentage of graduates as faculty and staff, it introduced a Human Resources table at this year’s conference to encourage local alumni to obtain information about becoming a substitute teacher for the District. Current students filled out and submitted applications as well.
“Lynwood is a community that takes great pride in highlighting the achievements of their residents and passing on knowledge to their children,” LUSD Superintendent Gudiel R. Crosthwaite said. “I want to thank our alumni volunteers for all the hard work they have put into making the Alumni Conference such a success year after year. Patty Rodriguez’s very personal and emotional account of her journey and triumph left many students teary-eyed and determined to follow in her footsteps.”