Purizaga honors legacy, forges own identity, path
Former police aide takes position as night monitor
Published: Tuesday, February 3, 2009
Updated: Thursday, February 26, 2009 00:02
It is a new day and a new year that marks a new era for a Contra Costa College graduate and former police aide. Kenny Purizaga was hired to the position of evening and Saturday program monitor, effective Jan. 15, replacing the open position left by the late Martin Padilla who was killed in an automobile accident in August 2008.
"Kenny is young, bright, energetic and conscientious — even from the time he was a student, a police aide and just as a person," Senior Dean of Students Frank Hernandez said.
Born in Peru, Purizaga moved to the United States at the age of 11 and has remained here to this date. After graduating from Pinole Valley High in 2004, he decided to work, rather than attend college. His main concern regarded the financial responsibility that comes with college. Therefore, with a desire and talent for working on and building computers, as well as Web designing, he decided to remain in this field of work.
Purizaga's mother continually encouraged him to attend college and gave him $200 to enroll and to take care of some of his college expenses. Although fearful of the overall process, he enrolled at CCC and was put in contact with the EOPS and financial aid departments. It was the resources available to him in these areas that caused him to receive all of the financial assistance he needed.
"I felt that the EOPS, financial aid and counseling departments and everyone from the dean's office staff embraced me and helped me prepare for school," Purizaga said. "I was happy to be able to return the $200 back to my mother. It made her very proud that I returned to school."
Purizaga discontinued his work with high performance computing and Web designing and began to take classes in administration of justice. After completing his courses, he graduated in May 2008, becoming the first in his family to earn an associate degree.
"I am pleased to see that one of our own former students was given the opportunity to take this assignment. He is one who is dedicated and committed and will give it his all," Hernandez said. "It is a great thing when young people give back to the colleges that they attend."
During a time when he worked at Ace Hardware, he met a CCC police aide, spoke to him about the position and decided to apply. In May 2005, he became a CCC police aide.
"I was pleased to have a job at the school. It was a double plus," Purizaga said.
As a police aide, some of Purizaga's assignments included college security, which entailed coverage of parking lots and buildings, the issuance of citations to cars without permits and coverage at special events like football and basketball games. Additionally, he is trained in emergency procedures for fires and natural disasters.
Purizaga's assignment as the part-time Saturday and evening program monitor encompasses campus security, assistance to students in finding their classes, posting of cancellation notices on classroom doors, assistance to faculty and staff in preparing for class and reporting of safety hazards (lights, broken glass, and spills). He supervises student Melissa Cavenecia, who is an assistant in the department.
As a police aide, he worked in the capacity with his predecessor, Padilla.
"I knew Martin Padilla for three years and was familiar with his work at CCC. I wish I could have had the opportunity to learn more about how he did what he did," Purizaga said. "I am going through the process of learning a lot about how things get done and am also here to serve the people."
A very close acquaintance was established between Padilla and Hernandez.
"Martin is irreplaceable. He loved CCC, as it was his second home," Hernandez said. "He went beyond the call of duty, brought a particular flare and uniqueness to the job, as well as cared deeply for the students, instructors and staff members. Everyone loved and appreciated him.
"Kenny will do the job with his own style. Over a period of time, we'll learn to love him in his own special way," he said.
Purizaga feels the qualifiers for this position include his police aide experience, knowledge of the entire campus and the time he takes to get to know the staff members and faculty. He feels the position was made for him, is excited about it and looks forward to doing all he can to fulfill his new responsibilities.
To help the office become more functional, Purizaga has established task-oriented goals.
"I'd like to have better communication, especially with the two-way radios we use that are in need of repair or replacement," he said. "I would also like to ensure that the telecourse training classes that run twice a month run more smoothly and (are) able to provide students with class information more efficiently."
Purizaga exemplifies this care of people on campus, Police Services Sgt. Jose Oliveira said.
"He is a very good problem solver. A handicapped person was in need of a handicapped parking space in the nearby parking lot. Although this particular space was being used by the school, Kenny was very conscientious and took the extra steps to ensure the student was accommodated," Oliveira said.
Purizaga intends to meet all staff and faculty members and let them know that he is available for them, as well as wanting them to get to know him.
"I feel Kenny is going to do great, because I believe this position was meant for him. He is an excellent communicator, as he enjoys talking with people," Senior Parking Officer Vidal Garcia said.
One of his most notable emergency responses came in the form of his reaction to the shooting of fellow police aide Edgar Rocha in November 2007.