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A century ago, what today is Rollie Carrillo Quad (center) on the campus of San Diego State University-Imperial Valley in Calexico, was the former Robert F. Morales Adult Education Center. Before SDSU-IV, the campus site off Heber Avenue was Calexico High School and within that, the adult ed center. | COURTESY OF SDSU-IV

Calexico Adult Ed Centennial Comes Home

Robert F. Morales Center Opened 100 Years Ago on What is Now SDSU-IV’s Rollie Carrillo Quad

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CALEXICO — The Robert F. Morales Adult Education Center will celebrate 100 years of dedicated Calexico adult education at an event on Tuesday, Oct. 5, that will be held where the program began and on what today is the campus of San Diego State University-Imperial Valley.The event will be from 5 to 8 p.m. on SDSU-IV’s Rollie Carrillo Quad at 720 Heber Ave.

In addition to presentations, proclamations, students singing and folkloric dancers, there will be a slide show of images through the years of Calexico’s adult education programs. Historic photos and memorabilia of the program also will be on display, according to a press release announcing the event.  

Started in 1921 on what was formerly the Calexico High School campus, the city’s adult education program, often called “night school,” offered Spanish, English-language development, basic education and job skills classes.

Over the years, the adult education program has repeatedly modified its course offerings based on funding availability and community needs, said Yesenia Campos, an adult education teacher at the Morales Center. Along with colleagues Miguel Zamores, Zahira Meléndez and Carla Martija, Campos organized the event.

Calexico High School moved from Heber Avenue to its current campus in 1954. And sometime later, Calexico’s adult education programs went through a series of relocations.

Calexico’s adult education program was formally named the Robert F. Morales Adult Education Center by the Calexico Unified School Board of Trustees in August 1998 in honor of Morales’ 17 years of service on the school board. Morales, who was retiring from the board that year, had been an adult education advocate.

Today, the Morales Center is at 1391 Kloke Road in Calexico, a site it shares with Aurora High School and the Calexico Community School. John Moreno, Calexico director of adult education, oversees all three programs.

“Our mission and goal is to prepare our students with the tools necessary to obtain their goals,” Campos said, “whether that involves pursuing higher education or entering the workforce.”

Today the Morales Center offers ESL classes, preparation for the GED test and an adult diploma program. It also offers U.S. citizenship classes to help students pass the naturalization exam.

The program also offers computer classes and vocational training programs. The program graduates more than 20 students from its various programs.

“We work with local colleges to help students pursue higher education,” Campos said. “We are proud of our graduates’ accomplishments.”