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Corvallis Middle School College & Career Center a First for Norwalk-La Mirada Unified School District

La Mirada – Norwalk-La Mirada Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Hasmik Danielian praised Corvallis Middle School students during the Dec. 1 grand opening of the school’s new College & Career Center for inspiring the idea that brought a resource usually limited to high schools to their campus.


“This was your idea!” Danielian told 16 Associated Student Body representatives, NLMUSD administrators and Southeast Regional Occupation Program staff gathered for the opening ceremony. “You are the first middle school in the District to have a career center, which will be tremendously beneficial to you. You will have a head start on the profession you want.”


When Danielian met with the ASB reps early in the school year, she asked the students what they wanted most to see on their campus. Eighth-grader Jonathan Velazquez, with an assist from Corvallis ASB President Keziah Mantooth, requested that the middle school have a career center like the one he saw when he visited Norwalk High School.


Danielian immediately sprang into action and, with funding and support from the Southeast Regional Occupation Program (ROP), the Corvallis Middle School College & Career Center became a reality.


Velazquez and Mantooth spoke during the ceremony about their desire for the center.


“I wondered why we didn’t have a career center at Corvallis,” Velazquez said. “Middle school students are ambitious. What you want in life can be achieved.”


“What matters is how hard you put the effort into something you want to accomplish,” Mantooth said.


Denise Strong, Director of Southeast ROP, will coordinate planned activities with Career Center Specialist Sherry Patrick, who will visit Corvallis from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the first and third Thursdays of the month. Patrick led a virtual tour of the California Career Center website, showing off online tools available to research a wide range of career options. 


“We will concentrate on the basics – preparing a resume and cover letter, conducting mock interviews – and let the students pursue whatever career threads that interest them,” said Patrick. “We will have guest speakers and I will encourage the kids to develop personal portfolios and make online journal entries they can return to when they are in high school.”


NLMUSD Board of Education President Jesse Urquidi commended the superintendent, students and staff for bringing the project to fruition, and reminded them that acquiring a satisfying profession depends on rigorous study and commitment.


“The best job you can have is one that makes you happy. The more education you have, the happier you are,” Urquidi said. “I would like the Corvallis Middle School College and Career Center to be a model for the District. I’d like to see one at every middle school. Congratulations on your achievement.”


Danielian has made communication and outreach throughout the District a priority since the beginning of the school year, visiting every campus to speak with ASB groups to share the District’s commitment to encouraging a positive and collaborative environment. 


Establishing a College & Career Center at the middle school supports the District’s key focus on college- and career-readiness for all students.