By Christian Horta
Tears were shed on Thursday as faculty and students remembered former counselor Lydia Rudametkin who passed away of cancer over a year ago. In honor of Rudametkin, a bench with a plaque of her name was unveiled in her honor in front of the E3 building.
President Marvin Martinez, along with executive assistant Olga Barnes, opened up the ceremony outside the F5 building with words of remembrance. According to Rudametkin’s sister Olga, Rudametkin intended to start a scholarship program.
Although she is no longer alive, her sister Olga, along with the Sexual Assault Awareness Violence Education committee, plan to make it happen. Kinesiology professor Marilyn Ladd said the scholarship will be available to women who have been abused.
Ladd added that funding will come from the East Los Angeles Women’s Center, but will be available for students who want to attend East Los Angeles College. “(The scholarships) are for women who have gone through sex trafficking, sexual assault and domestic violence,” Ladd said.
The details as to how many units are required, the minimum grade point average and more remain pending, according to Ladd.
Several attendees went up to the podium to share memories of Rudametkin. Retired counselor Bonnie Sherman told the audience that “sometimes as a counselor, we need a counselor, and Lydia was my counselor.”
Student Keilyn Carapia shared a memory about a time when Rudametkin made her write “I love education” on a piece of paper and sign it. “You don’t have counselors like that,” Carapia said. Another moment she will never forget is when Rudametkin brought her dog Moose to the office and fed him peanut butter. Olga talked about the license plate on her sister’s car, which read “La Rusa” (The female Russian).
The family plans on giving one of the license plates to ELAC. Someone else told memories about a time when they went to see Russian performances at the Hollywood Bowl. An attendee credited Rudametkin for helping her stay in school.
“If it weren’t for Lydia, I probably would have dropped out of school.” Various speakers mentioned how she always had chocolate on her office desk. She always offered chocolate to everyone and always insisted they take some. At the luncheon following the ceremony, each table had chocolates lying around.
A colleague of Rudametkin said that during her last months, she had lost interest in things she was passionate about. She always wanted to know about ELAC, however. A worker at the Disabled Student Program and Services broke down in tears during a speech.
She said that all of her accomplishments in life are because of Rudametkin: “Lydia offered me that safe zone to come and talk to her and open up.” She added that Rudametkin helped her with personal issues that were off campus grounds.
Rudametkin retired in June 2015 and rested at home until her death. The Sexual Assault Awareness Violence Education team sponsored the event. Ladd helped put everything together and proposed the idea of Rudametkin’s bench plaque.