Back in grade school, did you ever wish you were in charge?

Noe Mahelona meets with Pioneer Valley High School Principal Shanda Herrera for Principal for a Day.

More than 30 local Santa Maria professionals got to spend the day living out that wish during the annual “Principal for a Day” event. Put on by the Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce and the Santa Barbara County Education Office, the event partnered local business professionals with Santa Maria area schools to experience what it was like to walk a day in a principals shoes.

Along with experiencing the leadership of local school principals, participants also got to tour school facilities and got to know the students.

“I’m really excited to be here. I work with a lot of students and help them open their first account [at Wells Fargo], and it’s nice to see them in the school environment,” said Blanca Jeronimo, store manager at Wells Fargo in Santa Maria.

Jeronimo shadowed Ivan Diaz, assistant principal of Santa Maria High School, and was impressed with the campus’s recent renovations.

“It’s my first time walking through campus and I see how beautiful it is with all the recent renovations.” Jeronimo said.

Erika Weber speaks to students at St. Mary’s School.
Erika Weber speaks to students at St. Mary’s School.

Vice Principal Diaz shared Jeronimo’s enthusiasm for the event. “It’s great to have the opportunity to show her the new updates to the school and introducing her to the staff and students here at Santa Maria High. We have great kids here –always well behaved,” said Diaz.

The morning event was followed by a lunch and presentation at Elks Lodge, where participants shared their experience with the local community and local students awarded “Youth of the Month” were recognized. The Santa Maria Jazz Band wrapped up the days event with their impressive musical stylings.

“It’s great to have an opportunity to show off our school, staff and student body to members of the local community,” said Santa Maria High School Vice Principal Diaz. “We take a lot of pride in our school and Principal for a Day give us the opportunity to share that.”