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Faces of Saint Monica Preparatory - Students

Faces of Saint Monica Preparatory - Students

Senior Dinorah Cortez is one of three student cadets at Saint Monica Preparatory. She joined the cadet program with the West Los Angeles Community Police Station last year at the recommendation of junior Isaac Mendoza Jr., who started as a junior cadet with the Pacific Community station when he was only 7 or 8 years old. Senior Jonathan Rodriguez is also involved in the LAPD's cadet program, which has posts at all of its 21 regional divisions and shows youth how to lead through community service such as beach cleanups, giving out toys during the holidays and distributing food to the homeless, in addition to working in police stations and participating in city events. 

Cortez shares that she didn't come from a great background and was going through a difficult time when Mendoza recommended she check out the cadet program to see a different future that helps others. She went through 15 weeks of Saturday training, at the same LAPD Training Center that its officers use. She had to pass her physical fitness test to graduate last year from a recruit to a cadet and now serves mall detail twice a month at Westfield Century City coordinating with mall security. Cortez's post meets once a week and is preparing her for a future in law enforcement. She plans to attend University of Massachusetts Boston in the fall and double major in criminology and psychology, then return to Los Angeles for police training since you have to be 21 years old to become a police officer. She adds, “Life is too short to not try something new.”

Mendoza for his part said the cadet program "got him straight" when he was headed down the wrong path. At his station, the program does regular grade checks and offers tutoring to cadets, in addition to teaching them self-defense and running them through police training scenarios. Mendoza has been with the cadet program so long that two officers involved with the program have already retired! He shared that it has given him a wider perspective on the police as he's gotten to know a lot of officers, sees them serving their duty to Los Angeles and believes that, “If you full on put 100 percent into the program, they'll do anything to help you out." Way to lead, and serve, by example Mariners!

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