Kim Reed Edwards
For Covelianos Only
In spring, 1970, I visited my friend Jerri Stuto. She raved about Covell. I stayed with her and roommate Ann Alvarez in Jessie Ballantye. We laughed so hard, we all wet our pants and Jerri fell into the closet. That did it. I convinced my father that to send me to Covell.
I adored the “ambiente,” the dances and male-female relationship dramas, and occasionally the study. I was always on diets, but was quickly informed that in the Latino culture, when someone invites you to eat, you can’t order just coffee. I apologize to all whom I may have offended while trying to keep my weight under control.
After graduation in 1973, I earned a teaching credential and an M. A. in the first federal Bilingual Education Fellowship Program. I also lived in a migrant camp in King City, California. There was something inspiring about the simplicity of life as the workers rose at dawn while the frying beans wafted from the Children’s Center kitchen.
In those days, few bilingual personnel worked for the State. Somehow, I was appointed to an interview panel for Field Examiner for the highly-political Agricultural Labor Relations Board when Jerry Brown was California Governor. I served as Spanish Examiner, testing native Spanish speakers (imagine that). Covell, together with the migrant camp vernacular (“la migra”), equipped me with the proficiency to carry out this task without raising eyebrows and hopefully not alienating too many chicano activists.
I entered the California Department of Education, expecting to stay only a short time. After 30 years. I coordinate the California Teachers of the Year Program and the Milken National Educators Awards Program. Since we Covelianos are out-of-the-box thinkers, I have managed to find pockets of creativity in an otherwise mundane bureaucracy. Once I wrote a Public Service Announcement filmed by an NBC soap opera. I then traveled with the star and his agent in a limo publicizing an educational program. I have been the lucky recipient of interesting experiences – flying in a private jet with football legend Rosie Grier, meeting Sidney Poitier - experiences that State workers don’t usually do (and don’t talk about), so I’ll leave it at that.
Thanks to the encouragement of Dr. Faurot, I experienced some early success in writing for major magazines. Currently I serve on the board of the California Writers Club – Sacramento Branch. As I near retirement, I am getting back into writing with a focus on travel, meetings, presentations, interesting people and international networking.
I have three wonderful kids, Erica, 28, Elaine, 25, and Philip, 23. In a few weeks, I will become a first-time grandmother. My kids think I’m terribly conservative and old-fashioned, though they’ve heard the story of the marijuana brownies (names and area of UOP campus shall remain unmentioned).
Ten years ago, I took two of my kids to Costa Rica, only to discover (silly me) that my role had changed from student-palling-around-with-amigos-covelianos to that of “recreation leader” to two rowdy American pre-adolescents. This shift was eye-opening. Since then, in the past four years, Frank and I I have had the privilege of visiting (without kids) Peru, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Bali, and recently a five-week trip to India – including a 43-hour train ride. Travel makes for great stories. As Covelianos, we have the opportunity to experience, interpret and share unique insights among global neighbors and in particular, influence the youth who are connected to a world we were not privy to when we were young.
If I could experience Covell again, I would approach it with more maturity. The student-faculty ratio was wonderful. Our comedor and Centro interactions were rich. However, after all these years, I admit I still don’t appreciate having missed out on Latin American History because la profesora decided to change the class focus during the Vietnam War demonstrations. But at that age, we don’t speak up, do we?
While I now lack the confidence to speak much Spanish, in my advancing age (ha) I maintain some frailty with English. The word telescope slide in English is hard to remember because Covelianos learned lamilla. This shows the power of first learnings. I also have problems remembering the English equivalent to ambiente . Also, it’s easier to say bano rather than bathroom and cuidado rather than careful.
I thank the UOP administration and all Covelianos. Each and every one of you contributed to the incredible experience I had, and you are the greatest. I hope to see each and every one of you again!