LA Metro Section

Liliana Aparicio: East LA Occupational Center


Liliana Aparicio enrolled in English as a Second Language (ESL) classes in the summer of 2017. She completed the ESL program and never imagined transitioning to Career & Technical Education (CTE). Ms. Vicky Broccolo visited her ESL class last May and presented students with an overview of the Integrated Education & Training (IET) Pharmacy Technician course that was to be offered in the summer. Ms. Aparicio was highly motivated and told herself, “Just give it a try.” 

Her background is in Business Administration and she holds a Bachelor’s Degree from her native country El Salvador. During the Summer IET class she was able to appreciate the opportunity to become exposed to this fascinating career. She had held jobs in warehouses and hospital kitchens, which she disliked due to the lack of interaction with customers. She will be able to interact directly with people on a daily basis when she completes her training and become a certified pharmacy technician.

It has been a challenge for Liliana, since she is raising two young children, ages 6 and 4, while pursuing her goal of completing the Pharmacy Technician program. Her mother has been very supportive by being involved in her grandchildren’s education and upbringing. She also finds the language barrier a bit daunting, but so far she has persevered and overcome many challenges. After class, she goes home and relaxes for an hour, then goes to the library, where she catches up on the day’s lesson for three hours.

“I see the importance of the support that East LA Occupational Center offers all students, not only to help us learn English, but to encourage us to pursue a career through the Career Technical Education programs,” she added.

Her advice to her former ESL classmates, “Give it a try; you have to find something better for yourself and family.”

She would like to thank her current teacher, Ms. Broccolo, for her patience and leadership, Mr. Bill Hrycyna, Ms. Veronica Aguirre, and her husband for the motivation in pursuing this new challenge.

Leslie Constanza: Abram Friedman Occupational Center

Abram Friedman Occupational Center's Pharmacy Technician Student, Leslie Constanza is at the corner of "happy & healthy."

When Graham Brown, Health Systems Manager, at "Community, A Walgreens Pharmacy" was looking for a new Pharmacy Technician at his Specialty Compounding Store, he contacted Ms. Leslie Acuña, the Pharmacy Technician Instructor, at Abram Friedman Occupational Center (AFOC). Ms. Acuña chose to offer an Externship (hands-on training in a pharmacy) to Leslie Constanza, a very bright and detail-orientated student. During the Externship, Ms. Constanza performed impressively and was offered a full-time position. She is now a California State Board of Pharmacy, Licensed Walgreens Pharmacy Technician and Nationally Certified with the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
"Community, A Walgreens Pharmacy" is the only Walgreens Compounding Pharmacy in California. They are different from other pharmacies (including other Walgreens Pharmacies) because they cater to a variety of specialty diseases, such as chemo for the young patients at Children's Hospital. They specialize in dosage forms; and in creating suspensions, suppositories, creams/ointments, and capsules that are not prefabricated; and they provide health testing services.
What makes Leslie's story so special is that she was hired for a position that is rare and unique and is an unparalleled learning opportunity for advancement in her career. This opportunity was equivalent to winning the Pharmacy Technician lottery. Less than 1% of students are even considered for a position like this because of the skill level that is required. Mr. Brown said, "I chose Leslie because she is extremely bright and showed a will to work hard and learn her craft. She went above and beyond any tasks that were given to her to complete."
Leslie Constanza enrolled in AFOC, focused on education and opportunity. She wanted a career where she would be able to work in the medical field, contributing her passion to ensure patient health and safety. AFOC wishes Leslie a long and successful career.
The Career Technical Education program at AFOC provides competency-based and academically-integrated career training. Check out our website for other training

John Simpson: LAUSD, Division of Adult & Career Education

Mr. John Simpson has been teaching for the Division of Adult and Career Education with the Los Angeles Unified School District since 1979. He has taught in individualized instruction labs, as well as teacher directed classes in adult basic education.

During his tenure, he has successfully assisted hundreds of students complete the requirements for their high school diploma. He has demonstrated to be knowledgeable, patient, and sensitive in working with diverse student populations. In essence, he has maintained a positive impact on student learning throughout his career.

Mr. Simpson is enthusiastic, cheerful, and an effective collaborator. He is particularly compassionate with, and committed to, students and their educational goals. He demonstrates attention to detail, eagerly seeks and fulfills new responsibilities, consistently strives for self-improvement, and takes the lead in school activities and professional growth opportunities.

Over the past 38 years, Mr. Simpson has been an active participant and contributor to CCAE conferences and events, both at the local and the state levels. He has been a CCAE member for over 25 years. He has an exemplary work ethic, and he has displayed excellence in his service and contributions to adult education, especially the students that he serves. The Los Angeles Metropolitan Section is honored and proud to have Mr. John Simpson as a member of their team.