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City cleanup will connect students

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In an attempt to make education a top priority for the city of Pomona, newly elected Mayor Norma Torres organized the Pomona City Cleanup to be held at 8 a.m. on April 29 at Ganesha Park.

This event has been designed with hopes of connecting junior high and high school students of Pomona with successful college students from the surrounding area.

“With this event, the mayor is emphasizing putting education first for the students of Pomona,” said Udit Gratz de Lang, a member of Torres’ task force.

This event is expected to draw more than 1,000 high school students from Pomona to participate in a day of graffiti cleanup, live music, free food and most importantly, college information.

“We need to reach out as a community and show these students that it is possible for them to get to college and say no to gangs,” Gratz de Lang said.

College students have been urged to participate in the event and act as role models for the students of Pomona.

The event is set to show local high school students the benefits of attending college, while challenging current college students to persuade high school students to attend college in the future.

While all local college students have been invited to participate in the event, University of La Verne students may have the best chance to reach these students on a personal level and promote the college experience.

The University has long carried a tradition of supporting a large number of first generation students by offering them grants.

In Pomona, many high school students looking to attend college would potentially be first generation students.

The vision for this event is to get students working together toward a common goal for the good of the city and allow them to see the successes, as well as the benefits of attending college.

“It’s my feeling that because ULV has emphasized opportunities for first generation students, the fact should be well-known among Pomona high school students, many of whom may not have allowed the dream of a college education to enter their view of the future,” ULV Professor of Music Reed Gratz said.

Currently, Pomona high schools are not known as gateways to college and carry a low rate of sending students to four-year universities, even those students that are more than qualified. While this is a disheartening fact for many, this event is an opportunity to make a difference in the life of an underprivileged or unmotivated student that has not yet been steered toward attending college or is unaware of the scholarships or grants that are available.

“To have ULV students interacting and working alongside students from Pomona high schools is a way to stimulate the dream of going to college,” Gratz said.

This event is an opportunity for ULV students and campus organizations to provide service for the community and showcase their leadership and unity for the common good of one of the University’s surrounding cities.

ULV has already shown its full support for the event.

The up and coming Mu Phi Epsilon organization and the Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity have already signed up to take part in the event, while many others will hopefully jump on the bandwagon.

“We are a music honor society of about 20 members in the process of petitioning the school for official recognition,” Eva Hinojoza, a Mu Phi Epsilon member said.

Getting a head start on their community service as an organization, the group signed up for the event.

“We were told about this event by our adviser, Professor Gratz, and hope that it will be a springboard for the service part of our organization and hope it will inspire other students to take part in this type of service opportunity,” Hinojoza said.

The Pomona City Cleanup event looks to provide an excellent opportunity to bring the leaders of the city together with the youth of the city to improve the quality of living, as well as the future for these students.

Kevin Davies can be reached at

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