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Santa Ana Students Start Thinking About Attending College in Kindergarten

​KinderCaminata Introduces Youngsters to Santa Ana College

(Santa Ana) - One thousand kindergarten students from Santa Ana Unified School District elementary schools will be on the Santa Ana College campus Friday, March 7 as part of the KinderCaminata program. Parents of the students as well as teachers will also participate in the annual college visit. The visitors will arrive by bus at the campus, located at 1530 W. 17th St., Santa Ana, beginning at 8:30 a.m. and return to their home schools by 11:00 a.m.

“We want students and their families to realize in the earliest grades that higher education is a real possibility for them,” said Santa Ana College President Erlinda J. Martinez, Ed.D. “KinderCaminata plants that seed early and helps students grow that possibility into reality. Our vision for Santa Ana is to have a college degree in every home by 2025. KinderCaminata is part of bringing that vision to life.”

This annual pilgrimage of youngsters to the Santa Ana College campus has gone on for twenty years.

KinderCaminata is traditionally held near or on the birth date (March 31) of Cesar Chavez, the renowned United Farm Workers leader.  On the day of the event kindergartners are given visors with Chavez’s motto, “Sí, se puede” (Yes, you can). The annual KinderCaminata program’s name was taken from the word “kinder,” meaning “children” in German paired with “caminata,” which is “to promenade” in Spanish.

The college visitors will enjoy some 30 career stations that provide interactive exposure to a range of careers:

  • The Santa Ana College (SAC) Nursing Department will provide the youngsters a look at IV poles, IV bags, a mannequin with body parts, and a stethoscope.
  • SAC Fire Technology will showcase a fire engine and a talk on fire safety.
  • The Society of Women Engineers will encourage students to consider careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Technology) fields.
  • The Santa Ana Police Department will bring motorcycles and expose children to careers in public safety.
  • UPS will bring its “big brown truck” and a bean bag toss.
  • Comuniadad Latina Federal Credit Union will have a mock ATM machine where children can press numbers and get “money.”
  • Latino Health Access will present fun activities for the children using puppets and talking about leadership.
  • The SAC Chemistry Department will demonstrate how to have fun with chemistry.
  • The Club Med at SAC will give children the opportunity to listen to their own heartbeat and take their blood pressure.
  • The SAC Engineering Club will display a life-size model of a wave pendulum and provide information about engineering careers.
  • Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez’s office will share information about financial aid and how to access resources to go to college.
  • A number of mascots and well-known characters will be visible at the event, including the UC Irvine Anteater, Buddy Blood Drop, Clifford the Dog, and Uncle Sam.

At approximately 10:15 a.m., hundreds of youngsters wearing labels that indicate their dream careers will march from the Santa Ana College quad to the track chanting, “¡Sí, se puede!’ Leading the march will be the 2014 KinderCaminata grand marshal, Rick Miller, Ph.D., the new SAUSD superintendent. Miller joined SAUSD in November 2013.

With 40 years of experience in education, including 22 years as a superintendent in both California and Idaho, Miller most recently served as superintendent for the Riverside Unified School District.  His experience inside the classroom includes serving as a teacher in elementary and secondary levels and as a university adjunct professor. He also worked as an elementary and high school principal. Miller has focused his career on school reform and raising student achievement in diverse settings. He has also worked to build collaborative environments within school districts. He holds four academic degrees, including a Ph.D. in education, an Ed.S. (Educational Specialist) in educational administration, an M.Ed. (master’s in education) in educational administration and higher education, and a bachelor’s degree in chemistry.

The youngsters will march to the SAC track where they will enjoy a brown bag lunch and performances by Relámpago del Cielo, a nonprofit cultural arts organization which supports the study and preservation of traditional Mexican folkloric dance, and the SAC Jazz Ensemble.
This year, the KinderCaminata program is being supported by a partnership with the Lumina Foundation.  The Santa Ana ¡Adelante! Program is working with all SAUSD children to ensure that there is a “College Degree in Every Home” by the year 2025.  For more information about this partnership visit: www.sac.edu/adelante.

About KinderCaminata
KinderCaminata is a non-profit organization supported by an annual fundraising dinner, Salute to Chancellors, Presidents, Superintendents, organizations, community, colleges and university contributors.  A volunteer board of directors composed of the four Orange County community college district chancellors, university, business and community leaders governs KinderCaminata.

About Santa Ana College
Santa Ana College (SAC), which will turn 100 years old in 2015, serves about 18,000 students each semester at its main campus in Santa Ana. The college prepares students for transfer to four-year institutions, provides invaluable workforce training, and customized training for business and industry. In addition, another 13,000 students are served through the college’s School of Continuing Education located at Centennial Education Center. Ranked as one of the nation’s top two-year colleges awarding associate degrees to Latino and Asian students, the college is also recognized throughout the state for its comprehensive workforce training programs for nurses, firefighters, law enforcement and other medical personnel. SAC is one of two comprehensive colleges under the auspices of the Rancho Santiago Community College District.

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​Media Contact

Judy Iannaccone
(714) 480-7503
iannaccone_judy@rsccd.edu