CAMEO Mentoring Program Celebrates Graduates

CAMEO Professional Auxiliary of Assistance League of Long Beach hosted graduates from the mentoring and enrichment program at a luncheon at The Grand on Sunday, June 5.

The CAMEO graduating class of 2022 is comprised of seven high school seniors from the Long Beach Unified School District and one Long Beach City College (LBCC) student. The high school seniors completed a three-year course while the college student completed a two-year course.

Debby Mather, CAMEO chair, spoke at the luncheon congratulating the graduates. 

“We are so pleased to honor our graduates,” said Mather. “Over the past years we’ve seen our student’s confidence grow and they have impressed us with their strength and resilience in this challenging time.”

The pandemic affected the eight students during their program, such as having to change to remote learning.

“Prior to COVID, they did two summer internships; one before their junior year and their senior year, ” said Gail Bradley, CAMEO PR chair. “The students who just graduated were only able to complete one.”

CAMEO also announced that all of its graduates were heading to college this year. LBCC student Brenda Alcantra is pursuing a degree at Cal Poly Pomona. There are three seniors from Millikan High school: Anahi Bedoy, Isabel Tejeda, and Logan Pope. Bedoy and Tejeda are enrolled at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) while Pope plans to go to University of California, San Diego. 

Four seniors from Lakewood High School are Wendy Alcala, Leila Lee, Amya Hart, Janai McNeil. Alcala will be going to CSULB and Lee will be attending LBCC. Hart will join Texas Southern University and McNeil will continue her education at Clark Atlanta University. 

Three former CAMEO students spoke at the luncheon about how the program has benefited them. 

“CAMEO helped me be the first in my family to graduate from high school and from college,” said Alvin Avina, a CAMEO graduate from 2016. 

Avina is a field deputy for Long Beach City Council member Roberto Uranga. 

“In CAMEO, I learned to have grit and keep trying,” said Nohelia Gavarette, also a first generation high school and college graduate. “The mentors helped us believe we could be great people.”

Gaverette earned a business administration degree at CSULB in 2018.

“I was really shy when I started CAMEO,” said Sara Manangon, a CSULB graduate. “I felt so empowered by all the wonderful mentors. It helped me grow and become the person who can speak in front of you now.”

Managon recently started a new position at the Port of Long Beach as assistant marketing manager. 

The CAMEO mentoring program provides a wide range of resources. As part of the mentoring program, students partake in enrichment workshops, which according to Bradley, “helps students learn how to apply to college, where they learn career skills, and learn how to select a major.”

The students also do cultural activities which Bradley states are “things like going to the Getty Museum or going to the Broad.”

“In our opinion, college preparation is not just about picking your school,” said Bradley. “It’s also being ready, having good study skills, and having great confidence in yourself. And that’s one of the number one things that CAMEO does is help our students really build confidence in what they’re good at. 

Students have one-on-one meetings every month during their school year with their mentors where they give updates on their schooling and receive advice on how to move forward. 

To find more information about the CAMEO mentoring and enrichment program please follow this link

By Brandon Nakao