This week we wanted to share a letter from two of our Doctoral students, Susan Grasse and Cheri Whitehead, to our Dean, Don Cardinal, regarding a recent event at the Santa Ana High School where they teach. They took a moment to share their admiration for the community leader, Ruebén Martinez, the CES Presidential Fellow and their appreciation for the work Ruebén Martínez and the College of Educational Studies are doing together with the newly reopened Librería Martinez de Chapman University. We think this letter captures much of the same respect and admiration we have for Ruebén as well as the hope we had in taking on this endeavor together.

Dr. Cardinal,

I wanted to tell you about an event that occurred at Santa Ana High School (SAHS) this evening. Susan Grasse and myself invited all of the parents of our freshman students who received one or more D or F on their first 6-week grade report.

As we know, students who fall into this category are at-risk for completing high school and earning a high school diploma. We held the meeting in the SAHS Parent Center with our Parent Liaison, Maria Cante. Dr. Ruebén Martinez came to speak to the parents and students about the importance of education achievement and success.

I have to tell you that many of the students present had a monumental shift in their paradigm as they listened to Dr. Martinez. Rather than focus on failures, the discussion was directed toward opportunities available through academic achievement. For the first time, these students were directly told by a prominent member of their community that they had a new mentor who would personally provide a helping hand ready and willing to help them navigate toward success.

The demeanor of our students and parents exuded hope and appreciation as they listened to him–they were shown a pathway to a better life for themselves and their families.

I am so very, very appreciative that Dr. Martinez, along with Chapman University, have joined with our community to grow together. I look forward to many more incredible encounters with parents, students, and our Chapman leaders. And most of all, we want you to know that every day both Susan and I are so thankful to be a part of this vibrant Chapman University CES doctoral community.