IVROP showcases student successes at annual ceremony

Imperial Valley Regional Occupational Program Board President Alicia Armenta (left) congratulates Aksel Narvaez, as an outstanding participant in Project RN mentorship, on Tuesday, March 28 during IVROP’s 19th Annual Showcase and Recognition Ceremony at Casa De Mañana Building, Imperial Valley Expo in Imperial.
Tuesday, March 28, 2017

IMPERIAL — At the 19th Annual Showcase and Recognition Ceremony students were honored for their outstanding performance in the Imperial Valley Regional Occupational Program’s Career Technical Education on Tuesday, March 28 at the Casa De Mañana Building, Imperial Valley Expo.

In his opening remarks, IVROP Superintendent Edwin Obergfell welcomed about 600 students, teachers, partners in education and parents to the ceremony celebrating a highlight in a students’ education.

“We share with you some of our successes. Through our collaborative effort with our partner districts, our business community, and our partner agencies, IVROP successfully continues to provide career technical education, family development stabilization services, and improved connections throughout Imperial County,” said Obergfell.

The success includes recognition of 98 outstanding students in the categories of agriculture; arts and media; construction, manufacturing and transportation; health and medical; hospitality; public service; technology and business and marketing.

Obergfell said a new category of recognition was added this year, Partner of the Year.

“I’m honored tonight because the Vesper Society is being recognized as Partner of the Year by IVROP,” said Miyoko Oshima, President of the Vesper Society. “It has been a joy for us to support IVROP over the last four years because they are such an incredible anchor institution in the society.”

“We believe in a simple idea that a just society begins when everyone is well and everyone is respected as a human being,” Oshima added. “So, what we do is work with leaders, like IVROP and their communities, to figure out how we might be able to help develop solutions to various issues in the community.”

In addition to recognizing students, IVROP also honored alumni. José Velasquez was given the 2017 Distinguished Alumni Award. He was acknowledged for his exceptional achievement, from the time the was an IVROP student in construction and building technology at Brawley Union High School in 1997-1998 to becoming the Imperial Valley College department chair for Industrial Technology in 2016. This responsibility, according to the event program, encompasses electrical engineering, welding, construction, automotive, water treatment electronics, and renewable energy construction.

Velasquez said, “I participated in a building construction class with Randy Smith at Brawley Union High School. After that I pursued my education and also started working in construction. And that is how my career started developing through construction along with formal education.”

One career, technical education is still dominated by boys. However, a young girl signed-up for a welding class in which her performance was outstanding.

Erika Tolentino, 17, said she was the only girl in a welding class of 24 students. “It is a very fun class. You can always prove to the guys that you can do things just like them. It feels great to be recognized as IVROPs Outstanding Student for the welding class at Brawley Union High School.”

The culinary class had a large following. Obergfell said, “It’s one of the popular events. People can sample the food. But more importantly they can see the students, not only are engaged, but also see can see the discipline that the students have in preparing this delicious food.”

Food technology students showed their culinary skills by demonstrating, in front of guests, how to prepare delicious appetizers, side dishes, and desserts. People watched and tasted samples. Other students carried food samples and offered these to guests.

Along the sides of the building were booths showcasing the different career disciplines in training technologies. Students at these booths met with guests and explained what they learned from the Imperial Valley Regional Occupational Program.