“Ask-a-Mentor”Event at Berkeley Technology Academy (B-Tech)

B-Tech mentors

Rigel Robinson, Beatriz Leyva Cutler, Sgt. Veronica Rodrigues, Jesse Sclafani, and Willie Phillips

Partnering with teacher Jesse Sclafani, LWVBAE organized an “Ask-a-Mentor”Event at Berkeley Technology Academy (B-Tech) on Mar. 5 from 10 am to noon for Government/Social Studies students to meet and interact with four community leaders. A first for B-Tech, the event featured Mentors Berkeley District 7 Councilmember Rigel Robinson, Berkeley Police Department Community Outreach Leader Sgt. Veronica Rodrigues, Berkeley Unified School District Board Director Beatriz Leyva-Cutler and former BUSD teacher and South Berkeley Community Leader Willie Phillips.

About two dozen students sat at 4 tables in the B-Tech Multi-Purpose Room as each Mentor spent 15 minutes per table answering students’ questions pertaining to the Mentor’s expertise, after which she or he moved to the next table. Mr. Sclafani had prepped the students beforehand as to the expertise of each Mentor so that lively conversations ensued ranging from Sgt. Rodrigues describing her experience on a S.W.A.T. Team to Councilmember Robinson giving his take on potential solutions to the homelessness problem to Director Leyva-Cutler assuring students of BUSD administrators’ concern that B-Tech students are fairly served to Community Leader Phillips insisting that B-Tech students should aim high in setting their future ambitions.

Following the table-hopping of Mentors, all participants sat in a large circle and offered their impressions of the Mentor-student exchanges. LWVBAE members Jinky Gardner and Ruby MacDonald took the opportunity to mention that 2020 is the Centennial of the League of Women Voters and urged everyone to vote to “Make Democracy Work!” Apparently stimulated by all the conversation, everyone enjoyed the pizza lunch provided by LWVBAE.

–Ruby MacDonald, President

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