West Covina Mayor Roger Hernandez and former Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Kenny Landreaux took part in Principal for a Day at Rincon Intermediate School on March 18.

Who on earth would volunteer to be a principal during an era of slashed budgets and pink slips - even for a day?

Maybe no crucial budget decisions were made, but about a dozen business and civic leaders stepped up to the plate and volunteered to be principal for a day on Wednesday, March 18, at schools in the Rowland, Bassett, Rowland and Hacienda-La Puente school districts, as well as the La Puente Valley Regional Occupational Program.

The region-wide Principal for a Day event happened to dovetail nicely with Rincon Intermediate's career fair.

It was an opportunity for their real principal, Debra Klotz, as well as their principal-for-a-day, Roger Hernandez, to talk about the progress that they've been making at the school - and how they hope it will continue.

Hernandez, the current mayor of West Covina, was just one of 28 community members the school invited to speak to their students - including graphic artists, oceanographers, professional baseball players, dentists and even rocket scientists from West Covina and beyond - for their career fair.

Rincon - like other schools in the Rowland Unified School District - has been making a push to ensure that students are thinking about life after junior high, high school and even college.

Hernandez said he was excited for the opportunity to be back on his home turf. Hernandez attended school in the Rowland Unified District and served on the school board for four years

before becoming a city council member.

"My background is similar to that of the majority of the students here," Hernandez said.

Like him, most of the students have parents who are immigrants and didn't go to college in the district come from immigrant backgrounds.

Hernandez said that he only had a vague sense of what the alphabet soup of tests, like the PSAT, meant for his future.

Now that's changed.

Klotz, a former high school counselor herself, said that counseling has become central to their school culture. Counselors make sure that both parents and students know what to expect as they make their way through the school system - PSATs, SATs, ACTs and all.

Hernandez walked around to support the message. A group of students taking a quiz put down their pencils for a moment while Hernandez walked in on his tour of the campus, did the principal thing and reminded students to start thinking about what they might want to do with their lives.

Other guest principals included:

Dr. Nimesh Ladhawala of Chiropractic Wellness visited Alvarado Intermediate in Rowland Heights.

Joe Gatti of Fresh & Easy visited Hollingworth Elementary in West Covina.

Melba Minguillan of Wells Fargo Bank visited Killian Elementary in Rowland Heights.

Marlene Aguilera of Costco visited La Seda Elementary in La Puente.

Walnut City Mayor Mary Su and Ken Brown of Applebee's visited Oswalt Academy in Walnut.

emma.gallegos@sgvn.com

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