More than 1,000 Lynwood High School juniors and seniors received encouragement and advice from a wide range of industry professionals during the school’s second annual Career Day on Feb. 7, including a Los Angeles-based community activist and a Lynwood High graduate who created a successful cosmetics company.
During two 50-minute workshops, students listened to the stories of nearly 40 men and women in a variety of careers, such as business, law, technology, public service, health care, banking, filmmaking, entrepreneurship and the armed forces.
“Lynwood Unified students are innovative thinkers who have high expectations for pursuing their dreams,” LUSD Superintendent Paul Gothold said. “The District is committed to providing all available resources to assist them in achieving their highest academic and personal aspirations. Lynwood High’s Career Day makes available the best and brightest in career fields that matter the most to our students, to encourage and motivate them.”
The Career Day keynote address was delivered by Ernesto Rocha, a community organizer with the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy (LAANE). Rocha shared how he grew up in Long Beach as an undocumented student, the roads that led to college and how that influence his career choice.
“Identify the unique power of your own story and that will inform the decisions you make with your life,” Rocha said. “But you need to know what your story is, and know that your story matters.”
Lynwood High School alumna Letty Calvo, founder and CEO of Vera Mona, described to students how her frustrations in using multiple brushes while applying eye shadow led her to invent Color Switch, a brush cleaner that launched her company.
“I had a really good work ethic and I wanted to make things better. But I was scared of failure, even though I was successful throughout my life,” Calvo said. “It took patience and persistence, but in three years Vera Mona has quadrupled its sales. I hope to inspire you to start your own business. I believe that if you follow your dreams it will lead to success.”
Successfully employing Instagram to market Color Switch, Calvo was eventually approached by Sephora – the world’s largest cosmetic retailer – to add Color Switch to its collection. Vera Mona products are now sold in dozens of brick-and-mortar and online retailers around the world.
“We assembled a diverse field of career professionals based on student feedback and preferences,” Lynwood High College and Career Technician Eliseo Villarreal said. “Many of our students will be the first members of their families to pursue higher education. We are committed to providing the resources that will allow them to pursue the college and career of their dreams.”
Among the programs aimed at first-generation college-goers available at the Career Center are the College Advising Corps, which places recent college graduates in high schools to serve as full-time advisors, and the Educational Talent Search, a federal TRIO program that identifies and assists students from disadvantaged backgrounds and encourages them to complete high school, providing an adviser three days a week.