- August 4, 2017
Sylvia Cardenas stands in the shade beneath a tree outside Audubon Park Elementary School.
It’s the second day of school — and about time for kids to barrel out of the door and into their parent’s arms.
She spots quickly her little Camilla, who, at 5 years old, is just starting kindergarten at Audubon Park Elementary School.
After a minute of looking around, Camilla spots her mom and makes a short sprint to give her a hug — the smile on her face stretched from ear to ear.
It’s an exciting time for the Cardenas family, with Camilla now starting at a new school. Their youngest, Charlize, 4, is a year away from attending Audubon with her sister.
Leading up to the first day of school, Cardenas approached the new environment for her daughter with optimism and excitement.
“I’m just so excited for her, because I feel like she is ready — she wants to do it,” Cardenas said. “I think it is a big opportunity for her to try new things, to learn new things.”
Although she knew many parents who were sad as they dropped off their children, Cardenas beamed with excitement.
Camilla isn’t the first child Cardenas has seen go through school. Her oldest, Rodrigo, now a student at the University of Central Florida, had prepared her for how to handle sending a kid to class, Cardenas said.
It also helps that Camilla was able to make many friends even before starting thanks to the Baldwin Park Kids Club, where she met and befriended kids her age who attend Audubon.
The Cardenas family originally came in 2007 to the United States from Peru. They moved to Baldwin Park in 2012 after spending a few years in Texas and New York.
“When she started in the Kids Club, she was a shy girl, she wouldn’t let me go anywhere,” Cardenas said. “And now, she is already talking and wanting to see her friends. She had a chance to meet different people in different situations, so she is ready for this.”
For Cardenas, Camilla starting kindergarten is just another step in her growth — on both an educational and personal level — so watching her make friends and learning how to express herself are just as important as reading and writing.
“I know academics are important, but for me, at this age, the most important thing is her self-confidence and social skills,” Cardenas said.