SAUSD Superintendent Jerry Almendarez Visits the NAC

A melodic chime and a cascade of claps and cheers echoed through the main room at NAC 3 inside Century High School on Thursday, February 17th. To an outsider, this may seem jarring and unexpected, but to the NAC, the traditional bell ringing was another successful day. The familiar sound marked another victory for the young scholars, as the ringing signified a fellow student’s acceptance into college. However, this Thursday afternoon, the traditional NAC bell ringing had a special guest.

Superintendent Jerry Almendarez had the honor of holding the bell during the celebration, witnessing the cheering of students and staff. One by one, a NAC senior took center stage, shouted out all the colleges and universities they were accepted to and at the end they rang the mighty bell. The NAC bell ringing is just one of the many traditions the centers implement to encourage students and celebrate their wins.

Once the celebration ended at NAC 3, he strolled by NAC 1 to have profound conversations with the students. Kneeling, he observed Class of 2022 senior Alejandra Rodriguez’ artwork and praised her for her talent. Alejandra expressed gratitude to the NAC for making the space for her to explore her creative endeavors. As a safe space for young, budding minds, students are encouraged to pursue their interests and share their talents with their peers.

On his final stop, Mr. Almendarez arrived at NAC 2 at Valley High School, where our seniors were in the middle of their weekly “Senior Sphere”. The NAC College Sphere is a layered program that helps students prepare for college based on their year, beginning as early as 8th grade and continuing through their final year of high school. Students participate in several functions to stay informed about important dates, application deadlines, writing courses to perfect college essays, self-reflective exercises, and many other resources.

The superintendent joined our seniors for their networking activity and had the chance to connect with our scholars to learn more about their dreams and aspirations after high school. As Superintendent of the Santa Ana Unified School District, Mr. Almendarez leads the 11th largest district in the state, with over 50,000 enrolled students. With the weight of Santa Ana’s youth on his shoulders, Mr. Almendarez still made time to greet every student at each NAC site.

The day ended with Mr. Almendarez meeting with the NAC Board of Directors and staff for dinner. He expressed how impressed he was with every student and their self-confidence. Determined to continue the tremendous success of the NAC, Mr. Almendarez pledged his full support.

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