College Counselor Pedals Fast to Keep Track of Athletes' Academic Progress

Virginia Romero rides a bike to get around the 140-acre Cerritos College campus and perform her job as athletic counselor.

She uses the bicycle so she can move quickly to solve any academic problems involving the 545 student athletes at the school, Romero said.

"I might have to take a transcript to a coach to let him know immediately how a player is doing," Romero said. "I might want to talk with an athlete at the gym during a class break."

Other times, Romero can be found huddled in her small, cramped space in the admissions office, counseling students or talking on the telephone with coaches or counselors from other colleges and high schools.

Romero is one of only 12 athletic counselors in the state's 107-community college system. She is the only one in the Southeast area.

The college's seven-member board of trustees appointed Romero to the athlete counseling job in August. "The board is committed to ensuring the success of our athletes as students," said Mark Wallace, director of public information.

Romero said her job is to make sure athletes are taking the proper classes and maintaining a 2.0 grade-point average to graduate from the two-year school and transfer to four-year colleges.

"All students are special, but athletes need special attention to achieve as students and fulfill their athletic obligation," Romero said.

She said athletes need special attention because 90% of them work part time while carrying 15 units and practicing three to four hours daily in their chosen sport.

In the next couple of months, Romero said she will be setting up a computerized program to keep track of the athletes' academic progress. She also plans to schedule workshops with high school coaches and counselors to prepare student athletes for the rigors of college life.

Before Romero took her present position, she taught health and physical education classes at Cerritos College for 11 years. Previously, she coached high school athletics in the ABC Unified School District.

She attended Cerritos College and has a bachelor's degree in physical education from Cal State Long Beach. She also has a master's degree in counseling from Cal Lutheran University.

Long Beach City College has honored 21 of its 700 part-time instructors for having taught at the college for more than 20 years. Five of them were featured recently in the school's newsletter.

Joe Apfel has been teaching business at the college since 1957. Apfel is retired. He was a teacher for 33 years in the Long Beach Unified School District.

Carl Wulfsberg also teaches business classes at the college. He retired from Long Beach Unified in 1987 as a high school counselor.

Math instructor Lois Barth has taught at the 30,000-student college for more than 20 years on a part-time basis, while working full time as a junior high school math teacher in the Long Beach unified district.

Art instructor Joan Binkoff joined the college in 1966. An art designer, Binkoff has exhibited her prints, photographs and drawings throughout the country.

Don Hopkins is the evening dean at the college. Hopkins is a former administrator in the Long Beach Unified School District. He was there for 36 years, teaching woodworking and math at both the district and the college before going into administration.

* Tim Keeler, executive director of local cable TV Channel 53, has been honored by the Whittier branch of the American Assn. of University Women. Keeler was given a certificate of appreciation for helping the branch produce "Care Giving--You Are Alone," a 15-minute video on health care and convalescent facilities for the elderly in the Whittier area. Keeler provided training and editing assistance to the branch members during a two-year period when the video was being made.

* Whittier resident Deborah Lopez has been hired as an administrative assistant in the Personnel and Redevelopment Department for the city of Pico Rivera. Lopez has a bachelor's degree in psychology from Whittier College and is seeking a master's degree in public administration from Cal State Long Beach.

* Long Beach resident William V. Davidson has been selected chairman of the 19-member board of trustees for Chadwick School, a small private college preparatory school on the Palos Verdes Peninsula that serves kindergarten through 12th-grade students. A graduate of Chadwick and USC's law school, Davidson is general partner of the Davidson Group, a Long Beach industrial real estate development company.

* Cal State Long Beach associate professor Michael Agopian has been appointed chief deputy director of the Bureau of Justice Statistics in the U.S. Department of Justice by President George Bush. The bureau is responsible for collecting, analyzing and disseminating crime statistics.

* Marina Anaya has received the Toastmasters Communication Achievement Award. Anaya is the newly appointed assistant superintendent of schools for curriculum for the Whittier Union High School District. Anaya introduced Toastmasters youth leadership programs to several hundred students at Santa Fe and Pioneer high schools, where she was an administrator before being promoted. The students received training in public speaking and leadership skills.

* Patrick Wong recently won second place in architectural drafting in the community colleges Skills Olympics at Tulsa, Okla. Wong graduated from Rio Hondo College in June. He is studying urban and regional planning at Cal Poly Pomona.

* Nine Holmes Elementary School students have received awards and money for posters they produced during a recent fire prevention contest sponsored by the Los Angeles City Housing Authority for residents of public housing projects. The students live at the Pueblo Del Rio Housing Project near Huntington Park. First-place winners received $50, second place $30 and third place $20. First place winners were Saloeun Srey, Sinoun Von and Saroeum Chan. Kasol Dith, David Thoeun and Rattana Samart were second. Saphalla Heu, her twin sister, Sophaolly Heu, and Leng Tung were third.

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