JAYLEEN LAM (Staff Writer)
On Oct. 23, college adviser Alex Luong set out from Alhambra High School to enter his new position at UCLA’s undergraduate admissions office. The AHS alumnus considers the transition no less than a learning experience to prepare him for his higher goal of becoming a community college counselor.
“I feel good about getting a new job,” Luong said. “Working here at AHS with the students has taught me a lot. I’m kind of taking some actions to get to the bigger goals I wanted for myself since I was really young. This took a lot of thought and a lot of work, and it’s one of many steps to happen along the way.”
As a member of the USC College Advising Corps, an initiative that recruits advisers to serve partnered high schools in Southern California, Luong worked at Alhambra High School for over a year. He is currently working on his master’s degree in educational counseling at USC. When he was a college student, he spent two years working for T-Mobile selling cell-phones and another two years at a Starbucks coffee shop in Rosemead. However, his inspiration to become a counselor came with an opportunity to work as a peer counselor at CSU Northridge.
“In Northridge, I volunteered to help other students and children,” Luong said. “I really wanted to help people reach their goals and live better lives. I know a lot of people really need help, and when I heard Alhambra High had an open position I was so excited.”
His personal experience has also facilitated his decision to eventually become a counselor and professor at a community college, where he thinks his skills and experience will make the most impact.
“As an AHS graduate, a community college graduate, first-generation immigrant and first to go to college in my family, I know how difficult it is to learn about and go to college as well,” Luong said.
In anticipation of his new undergraduate admissions advisor position, Luong is combining his education at CSU Northridge and USC with his lessons from counseling students in Alhambra High School.
“Younger or older — it doesn’t matter their age range, [students] help me and influence my adviser’s style, no matter their situation,” Luong said.
Luong’s colleagues in the Office of School Counseling sent out a farewell with their congratulations and gratitude.
“Thank you for all the wonderful work you provide to our students to prepare them for a bright future,” Gateway to Success counselor Anny Cruz said. “Your personality always brought smiles and positive energy to any room. You always provide your assistance and professional service with ease and grace. I am sad to have you leave our team but I am also very excited for you as you embark on your new endeavor. I wish you the best of luck!”
“Alex, thank you and best of luck,” AHS counselor Carol Lam-Jones said. “Remember to come back and talk to our students in the future. Go Moors!”
“Alex, AHS was very fortunate to have you as a part of the Counseling Team,” AHS counselor Ana Dacaret said. “You worked enthusiastically and tirelessly to help our seniors reach their postsecondary goals. I am sad to see you leave our team but excited to congratulate you and wish you the very best on your next professional endeavor.”
“Congratulations,” Office Manager Sandra Esparza said. “I hate to see you go but I know that you are moving on to better and greater experiences in your life. I am very happy for you and for your future success. I will miss you. Thank you for being such a wonderful person. I wish you all the fortune and happiness that you deserve.”
“Congratulations on your new job,” Registrar Caroline Chan said. “I wish you all the best and it was a pleasure working with you. You’ll be missed!”
“Alex Luong has helped many seniors get accepted to the colleges of their choice since he has been at AHS,” AHS counselor Mindy Schofield said. “He will be missed by staff and students.”
“I am sad to see you leave but excited to see you fly high in the next steps of your future endeavors,” Fellow College Advisor Lupita Martinez said. “I was fortunate to work with you and grow alongside you. Alhambra High School will not be the same without your spirit. Thank you for going above and beyond for our students. Wishing you the best!”
Luong’s parting message for the students of Alhambra High maintains a positive tone.
“I know what it’s like to take classes at C and D buildings,” Luong said. “I know what it’s like to walk around Main street after school. I know what it’s like feeling like I don’t know everything. I know what it’s like feeling stressed and worried about my future. This is my final message: I wasn’t always like this, motivated and determined. I graduated high school with a 1.8 GPA and it took growing up and experience to realize what I wanted to do. When you feel like you want to give up, remember your why. Do everything with passion and love. I’m excited to see what the world has in store for each and every one of you in Alhambra High, but I am also excited to see what you have in store for the world.”
A new college adviser, Nancy Rivas, joined the counseling office on Oct. 30.