Media & News
Quetzal Mama has been featured in several press articles and TV interviews, take a look at some of them.
In The News
"Quetzal Mama Scholars ready to soar"
Free program helps high-performing but low-income minority students apply for upper echelon colleges and scholarships.
“Literacy Encouraged at OUESD Workshop”, Sep 16, 2012”
For the second consecutive year, the Oakley Union Elementary School District is partnering with the City of Oakley’s You, Me, We Oakley program to host Leer Para Crecer – Read to Grow – a literacy awareness event that encourages the promotion of literacy in the home.
This year’s event, scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 22 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Gehringer Elementary School, has been expanded to include a literacy workshop for students in grades six through eight. Oakley district literacy coach Traci Tovani will host two workshops: for students in kindergarten through second grade (and their families) and third through fifth grade.
This year’s event will feature keynote speaker and Tracy resident Roxanne Ocampo, author of “Flight of the Quetzal Mama: How to Raise Latino Superstars and Get Them Into the Best Colleges.” The book describes the child-rearing philosophy she adopted for her children and the unique pathway to college for Latino-American students. Ocampo will discuss how parents can develop and nurture our future leaders.
“Mother Tackles Book to Teach Others”, August 21st, 2012”
TRACY — Roxanne Ocampo knew she couldn’t afford to pay her children’s’ way through top colleges. So she figured out how to coach them to get there on scholarships.The result: Her daughter Gabriela Herrera has a full ride to Harvard and son Carlos Ocampo has a generous financial aid package at University of California, Santa Cruz.
Many middle- and upper-class families can identify with what Ocampo, her husband Arturo Ocampo, and her children did at their home in Tracy: long hours of study, strategic focus on extracurricular activities such as music, and mastering the arcane bureaucracy of college admissions and scholarships.
It’s what happened along the way that makes Ocampo different: She decided to share what she knows with everyone, especially fellow Latinos who may be unfamiliar with the byzantine system that determines who gets to join America’s Ivy League ruling elite.
It began when a few friends asked for help with their own college and scholarship applications. “Initially they just started coming to the house,” Ocampo said.
Now, Ocampo is spending her nights and weekends travelling Northern California, holding worships and sharing her knowledge with students and parents. And she just authored a book about these methods, called ‘The Flight of the Quetzal Mama,’ that’s available on Amazon. The title is a response to ‘Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother,’ a 2011 book in which Asian American mother Amy Chua describes the methods she used to guide her children into an elite education track.
‘Quetzal Mama’ is Ocampo’s take on the same theme, although with a distinctively Latino cultural flavor that puts more emphasis on achieving larger community goals and less on individual competition. The quetzal in the title is a rare bird found in mountain jungles in México and Central América. “This is fitting for the students I work with,” Ocampo said. “They are beautiful but don’t know how to soar. Their wings are clipped.”
Ocampo’s book covers a wide range of topics, including early-age child rearing methods. She discusses, for example, how to neutralize the soul-sapping negative messages transmitted to children by television programming. And she discusses the particular ways Latinos are likely to be impacted by media images and story lines.
Ocampo also confronts the Latino cultural reluctance to brag. Parents will help their children in many ways if they draw attention to achievements, Ocampo said. Ocampo, for example, put out press releases and photos to local newspapers when her children won athletic contests.
But it will be the chapters on college admissions, resume building, letter writing, interviewing and scholarships that will be of greatest interest to those nearing the end of high school. And though Ocampo herself comes from a middle class background in which her parents and all her siblings attended college, she says the lessons she offers are still useful to those new to the college game. And those who have tried her methods say that they work.
Alexis Buz, for example, is a 2011 graduate of Merrill West High School in Tracy. He is now studying at San Joaquín Delta College and is the first in his family to attend college. Buz said thanks to techniques Ocampo taught him, he has accumulated almost $9,000 in scholarships.
Buz is preparing to transfer to a state university — possibly UC Berkeley — to study engineering. He’s confident he can get in because he already managed to get accepted to other prime engineering schools such as Cal Poly Pomona. He didn’t go to Pomona immediately because of the expense. Buz recommends Ocampo’s methods to other Latinos. “She knew things to mention, things not to mention,” Buz said of Ocampo’s advice on admission essays and interviews. “It is extremely pivotal, especially for high schoolers that are going into the junior year,” Buz said of Ocampo’s methods.
Special To Vida en el Valle by Dana M. Nichols
“Latina author shows the way to the Ivy league”, Aug 26, 2012”
TRACY — Tracy mom Roxanne Ocampo is sharing her secrets on how to land scholarships to top universities with her first book.
Her self-published book, “Flight of the Quetzal Mama: How to Raise Latino Superstars and Get Them Into the Best Colleges,” promises aid for parents to help their students’ resumes and to teach them how to prepare for the college of their choice.
Ocampo references her own success stories with examples of her daughter Gabriella, who is attending Harvard on a full Merit scholarship, and her son Carlos, who attends UC Santa Cruz also on scholarship.
Ocampo herself works for the Tracy school district’s human resources department, and spent much time and effort figuring out how to help her children.
“I started doing research and interviewing people on how to get my own kids into college which led to the inspiration for the book,” said Ocampo, who describes her book as a tool to “empower Latino parents so their children can achieve academic excellence, become the leaders they were intended to be, and make a valuable contribution to humanity.”
Ocampo said it took her about a year to write the book.
“When I finished it, I did a reader focus group and the feedback I got was amazing. The information in my book was very helpful to the group.”
“Queztal Mama” references the beautiful queztal birds, super stars of the bird world, that light up the sky with color when they take flight.
The book is broken down into three sections. The first part emphasizes 10 principles that families should apply early on, and these become the backdrop of the rest of the book.
An example is principle # 3, titled “Clean House Literally.” The reference here has to do with an environment filled with negativity and phrases such as “you can’t do it.” Parents are advised to get rid of the negative words and use positive ones such as “yes you can do it.”
The second section of the book talks about how to “work the system,” and is focused on students from kindergarten through high school grades. Ocampo suggests making personal contacts with teachers, and recommends scheduling meetings with teachers at the start of the new school year and providing each teacher with your child’s profile/school bio. This document, she says, should include STAR test scores, summaries of grades, challenges your child may have and more.
The third and final section of the book focuses on college admissions and what colleges look for in an application/resume. Ocampo focuses an entire chapter on extracurricular activities and five main points to look at before you start.
Those points are: “quality vs. quantity,” dealing with community service; “politics matter,” with picking neutral organizations to list on your college application; “cultural authenticity,” not just checking a one size fits all box; “consistency,” when it comes to student activities and volunteering; and “having a discipline-specific focus,” to help match student activities with the educational goal.
“My book is different from others out there because I talk about having a path to serve humanity and not just being number one for social prestige,” added Ocampo.
“The Flight of the Quetzal Mama,” is sold online at Amazon.com for $12.99. Ocampo will hold a book signing and workshop at 9 a.m. Saturday. Sept. 15 at St. Matthews Baptist Church, at 1239 N. Livermore Ave., Livermore. The workshop will focus on strategies to get scholarships.
More information on the author and book can be found at www.quetzalmama.com.
Contact Anne Marie Fuller at [email protected],
Author Roxanne Ocampo will hold a book signing and free workshop at 9 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 15 at St. Matthew Baptist Church, 1239 N. Livermore Ave., Livermore. The workshop will focus on strategies to get scholarships. Details on the book and author can be found at www.quetzalmama.com.
Anne Marie Fuller
“Why Diversity Matters in College Admission”, Aug, 22, 2012”
“Cultural Authenticity in College Admissions” , Aug, 15, 2012”
“Quetzal Mama Interviewed on Latinograduate.net.”, Jul 29, 2012”
“”, Sep 16, 2012”
“Roseville conference points students in right direction”, Mar 27, 2012”
A Quetzal Mama, explained Ocampo during a workshop, is a “proud Latino mother who will do anything to ensure her children fulfill their chosen path.
“I use the term ‘Quetzal’ because it is a bird that resonates with Latinos and it has historical significance,” said Ocampo.
Parents need to provide positive feedback, tell their children they are special and capable of becoming anything they want, she said.
When her eldest daughter was eight years old, she brought her to the conference and it motivated her to pursue her dream of becoming a doctor. Her daughter is now a freshman at Harvard.
“Latino parents need to realize the enormous potential their children have for success,” said Ocampo. “You could have two students that measure up in academics and extracurricular activities the same but when a university reads what they write in their personal statement, they learn of the enormous sacrifices they made, how they overcame obstacles and it sets them apart from any other student and that translates to admittance to the best schools our country offers.”
Cynthia Moreno, Vida en el Valle