In the Neighborhood: Leticia Juarez shares memories of cherished hometown, San Bernardino

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (KABC) -- Come along with Leticia Juarez as she takes a tour of her cherished hometown, San Bernardino!

In the 1970s, Juarez's dad was stationed at Norton Air Force Base. There's even video of Juarez as a baby in a stroller on the tarmac as a C141 lifts off.

Juarez's parents settled in San Bernardino to raise her and her sister, Pam. Their childhood was filled with lots of fun playing on their swing set.

In the 1980s, Juarez's mom went back to school to earn her college degree. At San Bernardino Valley College, her mom was involved in the theater program. Juarez and her sister were also recruited to play various rolls in the Mexican American Pageant.

"It was very important for me that you and your sister embrace my culture, the Mexican culture, so you would know where I come from," said Juarez's mother, Leticia Juarez-Johnston.

The Carousel Mall is where many teens had their first jobs - including Juarez as a sales clerk at the Red Eye. The mall has since shut down, and the city is considering some redevelopment options.

"We see this returning to more open air eateries, pubs, dining experiences," said Andrea Miller, the San Bernardino city manager.

Next stop on the memory lane tour, Cajon High School. During Juarez's four years, she was involved in student council, cheerleading, swim and soccer teams.

Principal Teenya Bishop and athletic director Rich Imbriani showed Juarez around campus during a recent visit.

What was once the student council meeting room is now where students are learning about video production. But room B18 is still senior English.

As a student, Juarez took international baccalaureate courses, which she credits for preparing her for the rigors of college. The program is a big draw for students district-wide.

"Ten percent of our population are transfers from other school sites so they can participate in our IB program," Bishop said.
The best part of growing up in San Bernardino were the friendships made along the way, Juarez said.

Jessica Wyland, Juarez and her sister went to middle and high school together. Wyland and Juarez recently met up at one of their favorite lunch spots - Rosa Maria's on Sierra Way - to reminisce.

Over a burrito and tacos, Jessica read what she wrote in Juarez's yearbook. Juarez said she had lots of fun and funny adventures growing up in San Bernardino - memories she wouldn't trade.
Copyright © 2021 KABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.