Each autumn the acclaimed C5 Los Angeles program (C5LA) chooses a new roster of students from inner-city schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District and begins them on a journey of mentorship, community and self-confidence. And for the C5LA team, their next journey starts now.
On September 30 C5 Los Angeles Executive Director Greg Kovacks found himself in a familiar situation. For the past decade his C5LA team sits down with a growing number of LAUSD public school officials to decide which students are selected to the C5LA program and launch their journey.
“It’s never nervous [feeling], but it’s always excitement,” Kovacs reveals, “We realize the selection process is a very small part of the process, but it’s also a very important part. Our program’s success is tied to the students we pick.”
This thought triggers him to reflect on past years. “We were at the airport flying back to Los Angeles after the first year’s summer camp. We escorted the students to the terminal and you could just see how much they’ve changed. Their confidence, motivation, energy, passion. They had become new people.” That was the moment when he knew it was all going to work out. All these years later the program has grown to nearly 20 schools, with graduates going off to college, and afterwards many return to give back to their community and mentor younger students.
As fall 2011 continues, the recruitment process evolves. Out of 12,000 eligible students, 4,000 will be selected by their teachers and school officials. Then through C5LA’s process that count will be winnowed down to only a handful which will then begin the 5 year journey. While Kovacks is very involved in the selection process, he emphasizes, the journey is about the students. “If we do our job right, the students grow themselves.”