“He wants his children to have ideas about why they’re going to school—and all the different aspects of why they have to learn math and science,” Luna explained. “So we’re having nurses and others from the professional realm explain the science and other aspects. We want them to know they have to learn math and science to have a good future.”
Presenters include: Nicholas Abalos, a financial advisor with Edward D. Jones Co.; Carlos Ruiz, assistant chief deputy auditor for the Lucas County Auditor’s office; Anna Jaso, a registered nurse and an assistant professor at Lourdes University; local attorney Tom Goodwin; Roberto Martínez,a senior budget analyst with the City of Toledo; Toledo police Sgt. Abe Cruz, also a school resource officer at Start High School; Mercedes Ferguson, supplier diversity lead at Dana Holding Corp.; Cecilia Rivera, director of Greek Life at the University of Toledo; and Erik Johnson, a consultant with Ivy Development.
“The reality is that they are going to use it. It becomes very crucial in their lives to know math—even when they go into construction,” he said. “I tell kids ‘I would not want you to build my house if you didn’t know how to change meters to yards or how to calculate concrete or square footage. Math and science come into play in just about every realm.”
The transition from eighth grade to high school is a crucial point in a young person’s education—and one of the determining factors as to whether or not they’ll drop out of school. The Latino dropout rate, both locally and nationally, is well-documented. Lucas County’s overall high school graduation rate is only 69 percent, more than 20 percentage points behind the statewide average.
“It’s never too early, because if we can get them off to a good start in grades 5, 6, 7, and 8, then they can go into high school with a solid foundation to move forward,” Luna said. “I think around fourth or fifth grade, kids are no longer spoon-fed. That’s when they’re going to be doing a lot of learning on their own. So they need to know they need to be motivated and part of the learning process—and what they do is going to be crucial. So they need to do it and do it well.”
The TPS Hispanic outreach coordinator stated kids must know there’s a point to all the subjects they learn in school, as well as accountability on their part to do their best in the classroom every single day.
“There’s a lot of talk about the responsibility of teachers. We also have to make certain the kids know they have a part in this education, too, in order to get the whole thing done,” Luna said.
The Burroughs Career Day will feature presenters of all races, ethnicities, and genders—even though the majority of the professionals who volunteered are Latino. The event is aimed at well over 100 students.
“They need to see that everybody can be successful—both genders, all colors,” Luna emphasized. “I’m hoping it motivates them to say ‘Hey, yeah, I can be there. I can do that. I can move forward,’” Luna said. “I think what’s really wonderful is how people in the Latino community have stepped forward for all kids.
“Most of them will be Hispanic presenters because that’s who I know. I just think it’s really beautiful that people have the concern for kids to step forward and take time from their busy days to help in the lives of children.”
While this is a one-time career day, Luna stated he would evaluate similar requests from other principals to hold events like it at other K-8 TPS schools.