Mr. Rivera has been Assistant Principal of the historic Thomas Jefferson High School for two years. He is a proud UCLA Bruin, where he received his Bachelor's degree in Mathematics. He started in the Los Angeles School District in 2004 as a math teacher and then became the Assistant Principal atJefferson in 2014.
Q: What is City Year's impact at Jefferson High School?
A: Going from "transactional" to "transformational." You help us transform the school into a welcoming environment for students, staff, and parents. You all stress building relationships with the students you work with. So it just sets the tone, and it’s part of what we want to do at Jefferson.
Q: How does having a City Year mentor in a student's life make a difference?
A: Teenagers are most likely going to listen to someone closer to their age. And that’s what you all bring to the table. As much as we say: “You need to go to college.” or “What are you going to do when you grow up?” or “What college do you want to go to?”-- it’s hard, because for the adults on campus, it’s been a while since we have been in high school. So with you all here, you can say “Just a few years ago I was in your seat, and this is what you need to do.”
Q: What is your favorite thing about City Year?
A: The cheers in the morning! Because that sets the tone for everything else. I feel like sometimes it's taken for granted, just saying good morning, but then you all take it to just a whole new level. Unfortunately some of our kids have a tough home life. So to have someone cheer for them and be happy that they are on campus is something that I think really helps.
Q: What message would you like to leave for the current City Year Team?
A: This is what I struggle with in education, that your impact, you may not see the short term effects of it, it's going to always be long term. So just know that when your time is up with City Year, that you will have that impact, you just won’t be able to see it. It’s just hard, because you hope you’ve done enough. You don’t see it right away, but you are just going to have to be patient.
MS. AGUILERA: "[CITY YEAR SERVES AS A BRIDGE THAT HELPS TO FILL IN THE GAPS BETWEEN TEACHER AND STUDENT."