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Giving Back… and Then Again

Giving Back… and Then Again

By Kaitlin Solimine
July 2004

“It’s come full circle,” says USC College alumna Elda Pech as she sits in her office at L.A. Unified School District’s Magnolia Elementary School where she is a data coach for school testing. In the fall, Pech will place volunteer USC students through the College’s Joint Educational Program (JEP) in teaching assistant positions at Magnolia, which is just a few blocks from the University Park campus.

More than 10 years ago, Pech volunteered as a first grade teaching assistant through JEP at Vermont Elementary, a school just down the street from Magnolia. At the time, Pech was a political science major and had never thought much about teaching.

But it was her experience with JEP, coupled with an older sister who was pursuing a degree in education and a realization of her own love for working with children, that drove Pech to change her career path.

Pech graduated from USC College with a degree in general studies and went on to receive her master’s degree in early childhood from the USC Rossier School of Education.

Since then, she has spent most of her time at Magnolia Elementary, working in various teaching and administrative positions.

But it isn’t just teaching that Pech loves — it is also learning.

“I really love going to school,” says Pech. “I don’t think learning is just what you study in books. It’s about how you apply those studies in actual experiences.”

Naturally, the scholastically driven Pech intends to go back to school again, that is, if she can ever leave the kids at Magnolia.

“I would love to study counseling and become a guidance counselor at a school,” Pech says.

Chances are, that school would be Magnolia.