Writer Villasenor Returns to Cerritos College April 22
For Immediate Release:March 28, 2008
Media Contact:Aya Abelon, Public Affairs; (562) 860-2451, ext. 2287
WHAT: When Victor Villasenor, noted author, teacher, and peacemaker, visited Cerritos College in March, his lecture inspired over 430 students and members of the community. In response to popular demand, Villasenor will return to speak to the Cerritos College community on Tuesday, April 22, 2008, from 11:00-12:15 at the campus in HS 102.
For over 35 years, Villasenor has been inspiring students and teachers with his talks on the power of writing your own story. He will sign books after the talk.
Villasenor's story is a powerful testament. After flunking third-grade twice, suffering through school, and receiving over 260 rejections from publishers, Villasenor leapt to prominence with the publication of his novel Macho! in 1973. Since then, he has written several books and screenplays. His most famous work Rain of Gold--which has been the "Latino Roots"--has motivated thousands of students to write their own histories. His autobiography Burro Genius: A Memoir has inspired thousands of English teachers to bring out the personal genius of every child.
"For most people, a burro is a stubborn beast of burden, and a genius is a naturally-born scholar," said Frank Gaik, Professor of English. "But for Villasenor, a burro genius is a new creation: a person who knows we never stop serving others, and who believes always need creative thinking." Gaik, along with Professor Lydia Alvarez, are co-chairs of the Burro Genius Book Club at Cerritos College. "Students who volunteer get a free copy of the book, a journal to capture their ideas, and a chance to meet with professors across the department," said Alvarez. "We want students to have the experience of talking with a professor about a book without worrying about grades . . . and to meet a new friend."
Seventy-five students have already joined the book club, and over ten classes are reading Burro Genius, which recounts Villasenor's first, worst, and best days in school. Being a native Spanish speaker when he started first grade in Oceanside, California, Villasenor says he sometimes felt "less than human" because he "just couldn't get it." However, when he was asked to write about his family, he found his genius: "My God, without the shackles of spelling and punctuation, I was flying!"
Diagnosed with both written and aural dyslexia when he was forty-years old, Villasenor knows how some readers feel when the "words swim away off the page." Villasenor's visit is sponsored by the Committee for Developmental Education, newly formed by President Noelia Vela and Vice-President Bill Farmer. It is co-chaired by Dr. Jan Connal and Prof. Francie Quaas-Berryman. The committee promotes unique and successful approaches to the teaching of basic skills. More information about Villasenor is available www.victorvillasenor.com.
WHEN: Tuesday, April 22, 2008
11:00 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
WHERE: Cerritos College
Health Science Building
Room HS 102
11110 Alondra Blvd.
Norwalk, CA 90650
A map of the campus is available at www.cerritos.edu/guide
COST: Event is free and open to the public.
Cerritos College serves as a comprehensive community college for southeastern Los Angeles County. Communities within the college’s district include Artesia, Bellflower, Cerritos, Downey, Hawaiian Gardens, La Mirada, Norwalk, and portions of Bell Gardens, Lakewood, Long Beach, Santa Fe Springs and South Gate. Cerritos College offers degrees and certificates in more than 200 areas of study in nine divisions. Annually, more than 1,200 students successfully complete their course of studies, and enrollment currently nears 20,000 students. Visit Cerritos College online at www.cerritos.edu.