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Mailbag: Item about 'Good Citizen' was too short

March 08, 2012

Re "Briefly in Education: LBHS senior receives DAR's Good Citizen Award," March 2:

Thank you for your inclusion and report on Laguna Beach High School student Mariana Acevedo in your paper. I received a link to it and read about it from the school community liaison at LBHS, who also happens to be the director of the JUNTOS program for the high school. I have worked with him in the past and the JUNTOS program. Being an educator and counselor who grew up in and now works and lives in Orange County, I am very familiar with its communities, trends, schools and services.

Though I am thrilled that you featured Mariana's achievement in receiving the DAR Good Citizen Award, I was a bit disappointed in that the article was quite brief. I would have liked to know more about what made Mariana the best candidate, her post-secondary plans regarding college, and about her including her history, i.e. what is her native county, what are some of her immigrant experiences and how have they shaped her to want to be an educated Latina-American?

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In our constantly growing and changing south Orange County communities, it is essential to not only be aware but also feature people, especially our youth, who are making strides in their lives and making Orange County, their communities a better place to live.

Moreover, it is critical for people particularly in South County to see that immigrants and children of immigrants like Mariana can and definitely are making important contributions to their neighborhoods and communities as a whole, because though they may have immigrated to this place, and are not "natural born citizen(s)" as Mariana indicates, living here creates a bond like no other especially when you serve the communities, schools, children and people there.

It is my hope that these comments are taken with an open mind and open heart, for the continuation and improvement of featuring amazing youth in south Orange County. I appreciate and thank you for your efforts!

Claudia Sermeño

Laguna Hills

The writer is the coordinator of youth and family programs for Camp Fire USA Orange County Council.

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