Men speak at school club to mentor boys 

John Linn, campus supervisor for Kernville Union school district encouraged the boys to make good choices.

Photos and Story by Catherine Stachowiak

The Kern County Fire Chief Deputy, Dionisio Mitchell was the very first presenter at the brand new JR Gentlemen Club at Wallace Elementary School, Friday April 5. 

The firefighter told the Kern Valley Sun that he grew up attending Wallace Elementary. 

Kern County Fire Chief Deputy, Dionisio Mitchell with counselor Beatrice Alcantar, speaking at Wallace Elementary.

“I grew up in this school,” he said. “I take a lot of pride in this place just because we have a lot of people that are in our organization from this place,” he said. 

He taught the grade 3 boys, during lunchtime, that they could be responsible by following instructions and that they could get good at whatever they do by practicing.  “I have to practice all the time, because to be good at my job I have to do a bunch of different things, to practice, practice, practice. And practice makes perfect,” he said.  “You can’t become good at anything if you don’t put time and work into something.”    

He later let some of the boys participate in a mock fire hose demonstration, and he gave the kids replica firefighter hats.

“I’m responsible for your safety,” he told the boys.  “But I depend upon you to do your job.” He encouraged the kids to do well in school.

John Linn, campus supervisor for Kernville Union school district, spoke that day to the grades 4 and 5 boys in the JR Gentlemen Group.  “I love my job here. I love working here with you guys,” he said. 

The Campus Supervisor has worked for the school on and off for almost six years.

Linn said he went to college and it took hard work and being responsible to attain his position. He also pointed out that because of his family background he decided he wanted to do better.  So he worked very hard, beginning at McDonalds and then working in the oil fields for eight years, before he went back to school.  

“There’s always going to be hard things in life. And there’s always going to be hard decisions to make.” He told the kids if they stay in school and make the right decisions it would help them go a long ways. 

“You can grow up in a bad situation and still come out and be able to make good choices in life,” he said.

Both speakers that day fielded questions from the students and asked the children questions so they could participate interactively.

Students from Wallace Middle School volunteered assisting the club’s founder Beatrice Alcantar, who is the Wallace Elementary School counselor, with the club that day.