Fred graduated from Eastside in 2008, having already spent several summers working with children. For two summers, he interned with Aim High, a summer learning program, working as a teacher’s assistant for sixth and seventh graders. During the school year, he tutored with Kid Smart, a program in East Palo Alto that provides afternoon activities for students in first through sixth grade. He spent a summer in Brazil through a program called Experiments in International Living (EIL), which allowed him to explore the ways a different culture thinks about education.
Through Eastside's internship program Fred landed a business internship that cemented his desire to pursue teaching as a career. He says it was helpful to realize this early rather than possibly second guessing his decision to become a teacher.
“I knew I wanted to work with kids,” Fred says. “But I wasn’t yet sure how. I thought about becoming a pediatrician, so I started taking pre-med classes at LMU. But after awhile I realized I’d rather teach.”
While in college, he was asked to return to Aim High for another summer, this time to teach 8th grade math. The experience cemented his decision to secure a minor in secondary education alongside his natural science major.
And how did Eastside help him get to where he is today?
He explains: “I owe so much of my academic, social, and emotional success to Eastside. A lot of students who first come here are a little lost... they know where they want to end up, but they aren’t sure how to get there. Eastside becomes their travel agent. This place opened doors for me, pushed me to apply for scholarships I didn’t know existed, taught me about meaningful teacher/peer interactions – things that really set me apart from my peers in college.”
Like many alumni who return to campus to share their stories with current students, Fred has advice for some of his soon-to-be fellow alums who will be the first in their families to navigate college:
“That first week or so of college, everyone is thrown into a unique situation – everyone’s nervous, no one knows anyone. It’s the same for everyone. My advice (other than to work hard and be yourself) is to meet strangers. Introduce yourself. You may find similarities that will persist throughout college. You never know who you will meet or where that relationship can take you.”
Updated in the winter of 2016