El Monte Union Celebrates Parent Leaders During Drive-thru Ceremony

(VMA Communications) More than 100 El Monte Union parent leaders were recognized for their volunteer spirit, guidance and support during a Parent Leader Appreciation drive-thru celebration, held May 27 in the District Office parking lot.

Pop-up tents representing all five El Monte Union comprehensive high schools – Arroyo, El Monte, Mountain View, South El Monte and Rosemead – stood ready as Superintendent Dr. Edward Zuniga greeted the parent leaders, thanking them for their support and presenting them with certificates of recognition and a commemorative El Monte Union ‘Parent Leader’ T-shirt.

“It’s wonderful to see our parents and thank them personally for all of the hard work they have done for our community,” Zuniga said. “It has been a challenging year, which is why we are so appreciative for their leadership. They are not just advocating on behalf of their own children, but for every single student at their school. Their smiles as they arrived for their certificate says it all. Thank you to all of our parent leaders.”

Parent leaders proceeded to their school tent and were greeted by their principals and community liaisons, who presented them with a school certificate of recognition and personalized gift bags filled with personal protective gear, water bottles, coffee mugs and clothing – all emblazoned with their respective school’s logo and mascot. Parents also received to-go meals for their entire family.

The parents were recognized for their volunteer work with their school’s Parent Teacher Student Association, English Learner Advisory Committee (ELAC), District English Learner Advisory Committee (DELAC), and participating in online workshops and attending the Parent Involvement Academy in March.

One parent honored was El Monte High School ELAC president Jose Velasquez. Velasquez’s daughter, Ashley Velasquez, is a Class of 2021 graduate who plans to attend Rio Hondo College and study criminal justice. His son, Mateo Velasquez, graduated in 2019 and is studying business administration. Velasquez, who is also president of DECLAC, feels that parents can play a significant role at the District, especially in advocating for English learners.

“ELAC brings new ideas to the District, with a goal of finding what policies can bring the best benefit to students and parents alike,” Velasquez said. “We want to have as much involvement from parents as we can. We’re working hard to keep our students looking towards college and career.”

The Parent Leader Appreciation ceremony is the second drive-thru event celebrating the contributions of parents this year. A similar ceremony was held in March for parents who attended the virtual Parent Involvement Academy. El Monte Union Director of Instructional Support Edith Echeverria credits the hard work and coordination of school site community liaisons.

“Our community liaisons help establish the bonds that make parent outreach a vital component in bringing equity to every student,” Echeverria said. “We have such a great team. I feel privileged to work with them all. Everyone involved – parents, community liaisons, principals, the Educational Services department –deserve to be recognized for the tremendous job they do every day.”