Los Al High hosts Mentor Breakfeast

By Ted ApodacaLos Alamitos High School held its fourth Mentor’s Breakfast as is has come to be organized. Prior to four years ago, it was a small off-campus event with a few students. But, due to popularity, it was expanded to include more students.Since then, the event has grown to 200 students (juniors and seniors) and more than 60 working professionals. Students get a chance to speak with professionals from dozens of fields, ask questions and get advice on fields they may be interested in exploring in the future.The event kicked off with breakfast and an address from keynote speaker, Randy Schekman. Schekman, who grew up in Rossmoor and attended Western High in Anaheim won the Nobel Prize in 2013 for his work in cellular biology.Schekman shared his experiences growing up and how he became interested and excited about studying microbiology and science.He reminded attendees that when he lived in Rossmoor in the early ‘60s, the area was mostly rural farms and orange groves. He took water from a local pond, looked at it under a toy microscope and saw the vast array of microscopic life it held. He was hooked. He urged students to seek out the same passion. And he implored them to take advantage of all the educational opportunities they could, “I urge you to stay with it and make your future dreams come true,” Schekman said. Students had the opportunity to speak with professionals from fields ranging from communications, education, military, law and more. Los Al High College/Career Counselor, Shelley Riekenberg spearheaded the organizing committee for the event. Riekenberg said the students and professionals seem to enjoy the opportunity to chat in small groups, allowing for relaxed discussions.“The one on one eases the minds for both,” Riekenberg said.Riekenberg said the most challenging thing is trying to secure a keynote speaker, but that word of mouth has helped keep a wide array of local professionals willing to spend a morning talking with students. It has also brought the event to full capacity in the years since expansion.

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