Saying goodbye to Mrs. Espinosa

Mrs. Espinosa is retiring after 25 years at Middle College High.


Mrs. Espinosa is retiring after 25 years at Middle College High.

After over two decades at Middle College High School, Velina Espinosa is now retiring from the wizard family.

She first joined the faculty when the school had just been founded, back in 1996. At that time, MCHS was wildly different from what it is today.

“Our first year, we were a small little group with only 50 students and a small group of teachers. (Mrs. Van Dusen was one of our original teachers.) It was a special year and we REALLY got to know those kids! We were all pioneers in dual enrollment because there were only about 3 other Middle Colleges in the state of California,” said Espinosa.

Undeterred by the fact that MCHS’ dual enrollment program employed a new, precarious structure that was unlike the usual high school, she helped build the foundations of what our school currently is.

She stated, “It has been exciting and inspiring to be able to ‘think outside the box’ and design a new way for students to earn their education. And to think, over the years, so many schools in California and nationally, have come to visit us to imitate our successful dual enrollment model. Being a MCHS counselor has been a gem of an opportunity for me professionally.”

Reflecting on her past years at MCHS, Espinosa finds retirement to be bittersweet. Although she is eager for new adventures in the future, she still has an emotional connection with the school, as well as the students that attend. 

“I think I will miss the connection with young people. Hearing about their dreams and goals, their stories, their challenges, and of course celebrating their successes. Working with the young people in our community will certainly be something I will miss,” said Espinosa.

Despite retirement, she still plans to work with youth in the future, either in another educational setting or even via volunteer work. However, that doesn’t mean she won’t be engaging in any recreational activities.

“My husband has been retired for the last few years and has been patiently waiting for me to join him in our new chapter of life. Traveling will certainly be something that we will be doing. Neither of us has been to Europe, so that’s on the list. There are also many projects around the house that are awaiting my touch!” stated Espinosa.

After so many years at MCHS, her retirement has evoked a multitude of reactions from both the faculty and the student body.

“Mrs. Espinosa has helped so many students, and they wouldn’t be where they are today if it weren’t for her. We all hope she enjoys her retirement and remembers the generations of students that she has supported,” said junior Albert Huynh.

In a goodbye message to Espinosa, Kathleen Peterson, one of MCHS’ English teachers, stated, “Mrs. Espinosa, you have been instrumental in creating the culture of MCHS. Thank you for the infinite source of wisdom you have provided students and the staff. I will miss you, but I am excited for you and what the future holds! Enjoy the next stages of life and know that made a difference.”

On a more personal level, I would like to record some of my own experiences with Espinosa. When I first started out at Middle College High School, I was inexperienced with its curriculum. I had transferred after already completing ninth grade at another institution, so I wasn’t given the typical orientation that new MCHS students usually receive. If it weren’t for Espinosa’s guidance, it would have taken ages for me to adjust to my new school. So, here’s to all the help she’s given me, from emergency counseling to last minute schedule changes. I couldn’t ask for a better counselor, and I think all the other students at MCHS would agree.

We’ll miss you, Mrs. Espinosa. Happy retirement!