Pitzer Spotlights

2005-2006 Spotlight Archives

Elysa Vargas ’06 Teaching for America

Elysa Vargas
Elysa Vargas '06

Elysa Vargas ’06 has been selected to join Teach for America as one of the 2006 corps of outstanding college graduates. This highly selective program recruits recent college graduates of all academic majors who commit to teach for two years in urban and rural public schools. Teach for America is dedicated to giving every child the opportunity for an excellent education, and has the goal that its alumni become lifelong leaders in the effort to increase educational opportunity.

A Los Angeles native, Vargas has always wanted to stay in the area and make a difference. This desire comes naturally to Vargas, as her mother is a principal in the Los Angeles School District and has worked at schools in South Central and East Los Angeles.

“It may sound corny, but my mom has been an incredible influence on me in terms of my goals and applying for Teach for America. She has always encouraged me to be part of the community and to be involved with people. She leads by example,” Vargas said.

Vargas has been greatly involved in the Pitzer community as a Resident Assistant. She takes part in Jumpstart and has held a number of campus jobs.

The more Vargas learns about her Teach for America experience, the more excited she becomes.

“They have high expectations of the students as well as the teachers. I think what I found most important is that they really believe that these kids are capable of achieving great things,” Vargas explains. “I think a lot of the time people don’t see that as much of a possibility and write them off. It is really important to recognize that their resources do matter and we can help them through strong teaching.”

Vargas is encouraging classmates to get involved with Teach for America as well, as “the second [application] deadline is not until February 17. There is still time!”

For more information on Teach for America visit: http://www.teachforamerica.org

--Catherine Okereke