Former Assemblymember Anthony Portantino and Pasadena Schools Superintendent Jon Gundry visited John Muir High School recently to exchange ideas with 30 members of Mentoring & Partnership for Youth Development (MPYD), a non-profit character development and academic support program for male students at Muir. Longtime supporters of MPYD, Portantino and Gundry were special guests at an extended "Round Table" session of Lunch With the Future, MPYD's daytime motivational speaker series. Sharing anecdotes from their lives and careers, Portantino and Gundry urged MPYD students to pursue goals with confidence, determination and discipline.
Noting that many of the MPYD students were athletes, Portantino employed a sports metaphor to make a point about the game of life. "Can you catch the fly ball in the outfield by standing still? No! You've got to go run and catch it – and I know you can do it, too!" Portantino said.
Commenting on the prevalence of social media, Portantino urged the MPYD students to limit their online time and to concentrate on developing positive relationships in the real world. "Social media should never be a substitute for a handshake," he said.
MPYD students were both shocked and inspired when Superintendent Gundry told them that his parents forced him to fend for himself at the age of 17. "Their philosophy was that when you graduate from high school you need to make your own way. I didn't go to college right away because I was more concerned with how I was going to survive. So, I'm sitting here because of choices I made, not because anything was given to me," explained the schools chief.
The Superintendent also expressed admiration for MPYD which has operated on the Muir campus for over a decade. "This is the best mentoring program that I've seen and I've been in this business for 35 years now," Gundry stated.
[Since 2002, Mentoring and Partnership for Youth Development (MPYD) has provided guidance and motivation to male high school students through one-on-one mentoring, academic support, character development, and college and career preparation. For additional information call (626) 396-5600 ext 82009 or visit www.MPYD.org.]