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CSUB alumni teachers: Let’s hang a pennant in your classroom!

Arleen Villaruz-Gonzales holds a pennant in her classroom

Arleen Villaruz-Gonzales, who graduated from CSUB in 1984, teaches fourth grade at Princeton Street Elementary School in her hometown of Delano. She’s one of 16 CSUB alumni teachers at the school, all of whom recently received pennants for their classrooms.

By CHRISTINE BEDELL
Alumni Engagement Specialist
cbedell1@csub.edu

The message on walls of classrooms and offices at Princeton Street Elementary School in Delano is clear: College is for you.

Principal Mark Ruiz pinned a pennant from his alma mater, Stanislaus State, up in his office. Fourth-grade teacher Arleen Villaruz-Gonzales tacked up ones from Bakersfield College and CSUB.

First-grade teacher Emily Basconcillo had no fewer than 15 pennants on display in her room one recent Friday, mostly representing Southeastern Conference schools such as Alabama, Georgia, Ole Miss and Missouri. Then she happily accepted one from CSUB, where she graduated with a liberal arts degree in 2001.

Hanging pennants, as well as college diplomas and graduation photos, in schools is part of a districtwide effort in Delano to promote college-going and the many higher ed options open to students.

“When we tell our kids we went to college, it goes in one ear and out the other,” said Villaruz-Gonzales, a Delano native who earned her bachelor’s degree in liberal studies from CSUB in 1984. “But when I brought my framed diploma and the CSUB pennant, they were fascinated. Kids asked, ‘What other colleges are there?’”

Thrilled to be part of this effort – which we know is happening throughout the county and even country – the CSUB Office of Alumni Engagement is trying to get as many CSUB pennants up in as many classrooms of CSUB alumni teachers as possible.

We started this past Friday by delivering 16 pennants to 16 CSUB alumni teachers at Princeton Street Elementary.

School pennants in Villaruz-Gonzales' classroom

Representing: Villaruz-Gonzales has pennants up for Princeton Street Elementary, Bakersfield College and CSUB.

There we learned more about Villaruz-Gonzales, who has been teaching school in Delano for 35 years and leads oral language, math teams and the student council.

She’s also involved with Readers Theatre, which has students read scripts to improve literacy. Villaruz-Gonzales even arranged a play based on the book “Journey for Justice: The Life of Larry Itliong,” which explores Filipino-American history and the life of labor organizer Larry Itliong, a leader of the Delano Grape Strike.

Not only did she, her sister and brother graduate from CSUB, her two children will be graduating from the university in the next two years.

We also met third-grade teacher M.J. Gonzalez, who earned her bachelor’s degree and credential from CSUB and has been teaching at Princeton Street for 17 years.

M.J. Gonzalez poses in her classroom

M.J. Gonzalez and her husband, Ramon, both graduated from CSUB. She has taught at Princeton Street Elementary in Delano for 17 years.

She, too, was born and raised in Delano and lives in Bakersfield with her husband, Ramon, a fellow CSUB grad. Star Wars action figures and posters fill Gonzalez’s classroom.

“I love that you get to do everything,” Gonzalez said of being a teacher. “In 20 years I’ve literally never had the same day twice.”

Basconcillo signed her first teaching contract in 2001 but has been leading classrooms since she was a little girl. Being the oldest granddaughter in a large Filipino-American family, she was always in charge of watching the young ones and could only get them to cooperate by playing school.

Emily Basconcillo poses in her classroom

Why all the SEC pennants in Emily Basconcillo’s classroom? They’re the first she found on Amazon. She plans to add more, starting with a CSUB one we delivered to her Friday.

Basconcillo’s father died of cancer when she was 5 and her sister 2, leaving their young mother to raise them on her own.

“She constantly reminded us to do well in school so we wouldn’t have to work in the fields like she did,” Basconcillo said. “Those pep talks worked, because now my sister and I are both first-grade teachers and loving it.”

What she loves is seeing a new cycle of growth, relationship-building and accomplishments each academic year and how teaching keeps her feeling “young, energetic and resourceful.”

Basconcillo was excited to pin up CSUB’s big pennant alongside the other schools’ littler ones.

“I will be referring to that college bulletin every chance I get,” she said, “so that my first-graders can see the endless possibilities they have for their future.”



GET YOUR PENNANT

If you’re a CSUB alumni teacher, administrator, librarian or other kind of educator who wants a pennant for your classroom, office or campus, email us at alumni@csub.edu. Include your name (and the name you graduated under if it’s different) and graduation year, what you do in education, where you do it, how long you’ve been an educator and why you choose to be one.

Pennants can be picked up at the CSUB Office of Alumni Engagement inside University Advancement (Building 7 on this campus map). We're here 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday. If you are out of the area and need one mailed to you, let us know.

Do you work with 10 or more CSUB alumni educators? If so, tell us and we’ll come to you!

We ask for one thing from all participating educators in return: Send us a picture of you with your pennant in your classroom or on your campus. We have an online photo gallery going to which we'd love to add your picture.