Barron Park residents got a dose of wildlife last Sunday afternoon when a young deer was spotted running down La Donna Avenue.
After the deer got dangerously close to El Camino Real, neighborhood residents and Palo Alto Animal Services employees were able to coax the deer away from the busy street and back towards safety.
Lynnie Melena, president of the Barron Park Association, had never seen a deer in the area before.
"I was driving on La Donna, and the deer came bounding down the street towards me," Melena said. "It's not something you expect to see."
Doug Moran, a resident of the neighborhood, said the deer likely followed Matadero Creek to Barron Park. "Creeks are wildlife highways; it's got shelter, it's got water, it's got food," Moran said. Other animals, including deer and mountain lions, have followed the creek to the neighborhood in the past, he said.
Sandi Stadler, Palo Alto Animal Services superintendent, confirmed that the deer returned safely back to the creek after the commotion.
"All is well in deer land," Stadler said.
East Palo Alto Students 'Turn Dreams into Reality' May 17
The Foundation for a College Education will hold its 6th Annual College Fair on Saturday, May 17, at Cesar Chavez Academy in East Palo Alto. High-school students and their families can meet with college-admissions representatives, attend workshops, and ask questions about the college-application process.
The fair, with a theme of "Turning Dreams into Reality," begins at 8:30 a.m.
For Carmen Ochoa, assistant director of college success at the foundation, this year's college fair is an opportunity to give back to the community she grew up in.
"It's important to me to give back and show kids in the community that it's possible," Ochoa said. "I think a lot of our kids don't realize the opportunities they have. At home, a lot of them don't have parents who have even graduated from high school, so the college-application process is very daunting."
The Foundation for a College Education hopes to clarify that process with events such as the annual college fair. Ochoa attended the fair as a high-school student, and went on to become the first in her family to graduate from college. In the future, she plans to go to medical school and serve low-income communities like East Palo Alto as a doctor.
But first, says Ochoa, she wants to expose students and their families to the opportunity to go to college.
"In East Palo Alto, we only have about a 6 percent graduation rate from college," Ochoa said. "I think in our community there is a fear about sending your kids off to college. Coming from a traditional Latin family, there is a fear of sending your daughter alone, away from the family, away from being protected. I think the college fair helps demystify those ideas."
Despite those fears, Ochoa expects the Foundation for a College Education to have a huge impact on East Palo Alto high-school students in years to come.
This year's fair will have representatives from more than 50 colleges around the country. It will offer workshops such as "Mapping the Path to College" and "Educational Opportunities for Immigrant Students." The 300 expected attendees will also have the opportunity to listen to keynote speaker Gail Ortega, director of multicultural services at Menlo College.
Ochoa hopes the opportunities offered by the foundation and the college fair will help fight against the disadvantages many East Palo Alto students face.
"Unfortunately the schools that they attend do not prepare them for college," Ochoa said. "A lot of our kids have to work because they're from low-income families. There are all of these extra issues that affect their grades, how they perform in school and how people perceive them."
Ochoa believes that students in East Palo Alto work hard to find opportunities.
"They just have to believe in themselves," Ochoa said. "I think that's what it's all about."