Congressman Joe Baca (D-Rialto) and the Colton Joint Unified School District Board of Education dedicated the Joe Baca Middle School at a ceremony attended by a large audience of family members, friends, dignitaries, students, parents and administrators.
“I am truly humbled that this place of learning and development for the young people of the Inland Empire will bear my name,” Rep. Baca said. “I firmly believe that education is the foundation and the key that will open the doors of opportunity for our youth. It is our responsibility to plant the seeds – that will flourish, and help to build our leaders of today and tomorrow.”
Rep. Baca thanked members of the CJUSD Board of Education and Superintendent Jerry Almendarez for the honor. He added that he is deeply appreciative to his parents, wife, children, brothers and sisters and everyone who was instrumental in helping him rise from humble beginnings as the youngest of 15 children to become a member of Congress.
“I have been blessed to dedicate much of my life to public service,” Rep. Baca said. “From my days as a Community College Board of Trustee, to my time in the State Legislature, and now in Congress – I have always fought to protect equal access to education. Please know that I will continue to stand for education, and fight for greater opportunities for the young people of the Inland Empire.”
In addition to Rep. Baca, the ceremony featured remarks from members of the Board of Education, as well as Superintendent Almendarez.
Rep. Baca closed the ceremony with a quote from one of his favorite role models, civil rights leader Cesar Chavez, who said: “The end of all education should surely be service to others.”
“Ultimately – it is our duty to help each other – and to care for each other,” Rep. Baca concluded. “I encourage all of us here today – administrators, teachers, parents and students – to go forward and work, to make the world a better place for all of us.”
Construction was started on the JoeBacaMiddle School on October 23, 2010 and has taken 20 months for its completion. This new educational complex is constructed on 14 acres serving the Bloomington and southern Rialto communities. The site has a capacity to serve 1,300 students from the surrounding area with a projected enrollment of 800 students to start in August.
The school site is comprised of impressive two-story buildings that accommodate 50 state of the art classrooms, the latest technology for teachers including interactive smart whiteboards, LCD projectors, voice magnification and surround sound. The buildings also utilize energy efficient lighting, heating, air conditioning and building construction. In addition, the campus has three computer labs, an indoor basketball court, library, multipurpose room, cafeteria and outdoor amphitheatre.