May 18, 2016 I believe that within every child resides…
The body of an Olympic Athlete,
The Brain of a Scientist,
The Mind of a Poet,
The Hands of an Artist,
The Ear of a Composer,
The Heart of a Saint.
Never stop believing that your student has…
Unlimited Potential! ~ Dr. Robert Melillo
Millennium Biltmore Hotel
AALA PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE
This year’s AALA Scholarship and Community Awards Banquet celebrates everything right about public education! Our amazing association is coming together for the 34th consecutive year to highlight outstanding Los Angeles Unified School District scholars, their heroic administrators, their families, and corporate and private citizens who allow us to collectively thrive.
I applaud and congratulate our scholarship recipients for their meritorious achievements and accomplishments. I am in awe of and grateful for our corps of “Angel Volunteers.” Their boundless energy, resources, and support of our schools are heartwarming and touching. I encourage every honoree to remember tonight, to continuously pay-it-forward, and to reenergize our commitment to saving democracy as we know it.
In closing, join me in marking and celebrating AALA’s upcoming and major milestone – our association’s 35th anniversary on July 1, 2016. My goal is to award an unprecedented 35 scholarships in 2017. We can do it with your support!
Juan Alberto Flecha, President
Associated Administrators of Los Angeles
FRIENDS OF AALA GREETING
Friends of AALA has worked hard to meet the number and maintain the level of each scholarship we awarded last year. This year, fundraising has been a challenge. As always we are so grateful for the outstanding support of our alumni, friends, and corporate partners. As another year of fundraising approaches, we look forward to continuing our partnership in this very important endeavor. All of you to whom we owe gratitude realize that the work of Friends of AALA is truly a labor of love.
Dr. Eve Sherman, President,
Board of Directors, Friends of AALA
PROGRAM Welcome and Introductions Juan A. Flecha, President
Presentation of Administrators of the Year Richard Tresler and Gloria Rogers
California Credit Union DINNER Presentation of Community Volunteer Awards Charlotte Lerchenmuller, Consultant Leticia Gonzalez Madison Elementary School
Margarita Lopez-Garcia Langdon Avenue Elementary School
Deborah Raasch Huntington Park Elementary School
Gloria Woo Gault Street Elementary School
Cheremoya Foundation Cheremoya Avenue Elementary School
Comcast NBCUniversal Rio Vista Elementary School
Primetime Mentors, Daniel Pearl Magnet High School
The Sherry Lansing Foundation
We Care Outreach Ministries, Jordan High School
Elder Michael Cummings
YOKA Parent Volunteers Young Oak Kim Academy
Presentation of Scholarship Awards Dr. Judith Perez and
Dan Isaacs, Administrators
Skye Edith Bannister Cortines School of Visual and Performing Arts
Sopheara Chan Phoenix High School
Anahi Cornejo Wilson High School
Ana Cuen South East High School
Reina Flores University High School
Chelsea Gonzalez South Gate High School
Julie Grassian San Pedro High School
Jae Joon “Joshua” Kim North Hollywood High School
Annie Kokoyan Sherman Oaks Center for Enriched Studies
Trae Whyte King /Drew Magnet HS of Medicine and Science
Glenda Fuentes East Valley Skills Center
President’s Award Juan A. Flecha
COMMUNITY VOLUNTEER AWARD RECIPIENTS Leticia Gonzalez
Madison Elementary School
Since 2006, Leticia Gonzalez has amassed 2,500 volunteer hours assisting Madison Elementary School Parent Center and school personnel. With enthusiasm and dedication, she has volunteered for PTA, Art Programs, Back-to-School, Read Across America, Science Nights, Harvest Festivals, Winter Programs, and Spring Dances. Serving her community, Leticia helped eligible parents, under the new law passed in January 2015, to apply for a driver's license regardless of immigration status. Leticia is an exceptional person who is trustworthy, energetic and always eager to help. Thank you, Leticia, for your service to the school and the community.
Langdon Avenue Elementary School
Although Mrs. Lopez-Garcia has no children attending Langdon Avenue Elementary School, she is a dedicated volunteer who provides after-school enrichment activities for the students. She has taught Ballet Folklorico, organized the school's drill team, and recruited guest readers from local organizations to read to Pre-K and kindergarten students about the importance of drinking water. Mrs. Lopez-Garcia has organized parent art workshops and assisted the school in obtaining grants from the local Neighborhood Council for school and parent center improvements. We applaud you, Margarita, for your commitment to serve.
Huntington Park Elementary School
Since 2011, Debi Raasch has organized and promoted an annual day of service bringing over 100 volunteers to paint murals, landscape, level books, and other needed school projects. She recruits sponsors and volunteers and provides snacks and meals for those who volunteer. She also gathers donations for the Woodcraft Rangers Program. As a former teacher, Debi volunteers twice a week to work with students on critical early literacy skills and provides hands-on science lessons using the recently planted vegetable garden to teach students valuable gardening and agriculture concepts. Thank you, Debi, for your service to the school and we are pleased to honor you today.
Gault Street Elementary School
Mrs. Gloria Woo began her service to Gault Street Elementary School 26 years ago as a library volunteer. In 2013, the new library was named after Mrs. Woo to acknowledge her dedication and significant contributions to the school. Her love of learning and service to the community has grown into leading the school's Garden Club, as well as leading all campus beautification projects. Mrs. Woo is a person of character and a positive role model to the students. Over the years, her giving spirit has touched many children. Thank you, Gloria, for making a difference in the Gault Street Community.
Cheremoya Avenue Elementary School
Since 2009, the Cheremoya Foundation Booster Club has supported the expansion of the school's enrichment programs and improvement projects that allow our stars to shine in Hollywood. Active and engaged families working together have obtained for all students dramatic and visual arts programs, technology, a garden project, GATE enrichment classes, an outdoor learning center, physical education, and after-school programs. Interior restoration projects have included classroom and hallway beautification, as well as a cafeteria makeover. Cheremoya Elementary School is fortunate to have the active and caring presence of the Cheremoya Foundation on campus.
Rio Vista Elementary School
For over seven years, employees from Comcast NBCUniversal have celebrated Read Across America by reading to the students at Rio Vista Elementary School and by kicking off a month of activities that promote art and literacy for students. They have sponsored field trips for kindergarten classes to watch live theater performances, provided prizes for top readers in grades 2-5, and led community service events. They have provided computers for classrooms, revitalized the school’s reading garden and edible garden, and have sponsored fitness events. We applaud Comcast NBCUniversal for its dedication to the Rio Vista Elementary school community.
Since 2012, Primetime for Schools, through The Sherry Lansing Foundation, has provided retirees and mentors to support juniors and seniors at Daniel Pearl Magnet HS in writing their personal statements for their college applications. The Primetime volunteers have had a significant impact on students' ability to write compelling personal essays because they can quickly establish rapport with the students. The mentors help them focus on important aspects of their statements that magnify their unique experiences and qualities, which makes them outstanding candidates for universities and colleges. The mentors come weekly, are well-prepared to work with students, and their generosity of time and personal care has made the difference for many of our students in their college acceptances. We applaud the Primetime Mentors for their commitment to serve.
We Care Outreach Ministries, Elder Michael Cummings
Jordan High School
Since 2001, Elder Michael Cummings, also known as "Big Mike," has been a violence prevention specialist who uses his leadership skills, personal history, and deep roots in the community to create safe streets for youth and opportunities for families in Watts. Through his nonprofit, We Care Outreach Ministries, Elder Cummings has worked to increase students' safety at Jordan High School through the Safe Passage Program, walking students to and from school and intervening when gangs try to recruit new members. He also established the "safe haven" agreement with local businesses to designate places of refuge along the school route for youth in need of protection, medical attention, or police assistance. Thank you, Elder Cummings, for making a difference in the Watts community.
YOKA Parent Volunteers
Young Oak Kim Academy
Since 2009, the YOKA Volunteers have cultivated a thriving Parent Center that offers many workshops such as ESL, citizenship, computer, domestic violence prevention, health, voter education, and Growth Mindset Education. YOKA Volunteers also monitor the middle school Breakfast in the Classroom program, school uniform compliance, and support newly arriving immigrant families with navigating the public education system. YOKA Volunteers are assets to the instructional program; they are active in school governance and welcoming immigrant families to the Pico Union-Koreatown community. We applaud YOKA Volunteers for their service to the school and community.
Major: International Relations Science Club; Dance Council (website manager); National Honor Society; National Society of High School Scholars; Dance Company (Core Member); College Ambassadors Program; Math Club; Aliso Pico Dance Teacher Assistant/Choreographer; All That Dance Assistant; Los Angeles Animal Shelter; QuestBridge Scholar; Dance Academy Leadership Award; Oxbridge Academic Program: Oxbridge St. Andrews, Scotland; AP Scholar Award
“Whether the circumstances of my life have been good or bad I have always dreamed big” are the words of Skye Bannister, a truly talented and creative student whose life has sometimes lacked stability. Skye brings an innate joy to her work and constantly seeks to improve her artistry as a dancer. She is magnetic on stage and brings a unique mixture of technique and emotion to her performances. The epitome of a well-rounded student, Skye shines both artistically and academically, having established a reputation for exemplary classroom work and thriving as a leader among her peers. Her goal is to work for the UN or a nonprofit organization so that she can create change in the world that brings economic stability to third world countries. It is clear that Skye will continue to attain significant educational and artistic growth and make many valuable contributions to society in the future.
Phoenix High School
College Choice: Santa Monica College
Major: Nursing Volleyball Team – Venice High School (Captain); Phoenix Leadership Committee; Student Trainer, K9 Connection; Youth Worker, West Los Angeles Family Resource Center; Youth Worker, Westchester Senior Citizen Center; Youth Worker, Latino Resource Organization; NKLA (No Kill Los Angeles) Adoption Center (cared for stray/abandoned dogs and cats)
An excellent role model who inspires other students, Sopheara has a commitment to education and community outreach far beyond her age. She is currently on the Leadership Committee supporting the campus with fundraisers and representing her peers, as well as providing them with assistance in their course work and the use of technology. Sopheara donates her time at a pet adoption center, where she has learned compassion and a talent for training animals. Her work in a senior center gave her the opportunity to organize events, developing empathy for people of all ages. These and many other experiences have helped Sopheara commit to a future of service. A self-motivated and confident young lady, Sopheara will undoubtedly achieve her hopes and dreams.
Major: Electrical Engineering Outreach Club (Activities Director, Secretary, President); Peer College Counselor; Early Academic Outreach Program; Drama (Play Director); CSULA Upward Bound Program; CSULA Summer Research Program; STEM Mentor; Tree Club; Math Tutor; Instructional Youth Leader (church volunteer); Midnight Mission (volunteer)
A Latina, a scholar, an innovator and an engineer in training is how Anahi describes herself, and founding a nonprofit global organization is what she sees as her future. While at home, she is the virtual cohead of the house, responsible for cleaning, cooking, and caring for siblings, and while at school, Anahi is an outstanding academic, generous with her time and talent in numerous activities, but particularly as a consummate math tutor and Outreach Club President. An internship in physics research inspired her to become an engineer. Pairing her love of science with her commitment to community service, Anahi hopes that her goal of founding a nonprofit organization will be a profound benefit for needy students worldwide. Anahi is dedicated, caring and possesses an outstanding character with a determination to succeed that promises a bright future.
South East High School
College Choice: University of California, Berkeley
Major: Molecular and Cellular Biology Technology and Media Magnet (TMM) Council (Secretary, Leader – Membership Program); MESA; Interact Club; Volleyball (JV); Peer College Counselor (Team Leader in developing College Center Website); Quill and Scroll International Society for High School Journalists (member); Junior Varsity Policy Debater; Journalism (Editor-in-Chief of school newspaper website); United by Faith Bible Club (Co-Founder, Vice President); National Forensic League (member); Los Angeles General Hospital (volunteer); Greenfield Care Center (volunteer); QuestBridge Finalist; AP Scholar with Distinction; Warren Christopher Scholarship
Ana’s diligent work ethic and strong will to succeed, combined with her natural intelligence and curiosity for learning, contribute to her own numerous successes and make her an invaluable asset to those around her. A willing and eager leader she has taken on major responsibilities in all aspects of her leadership on campus. Ana is an ardent advocate on behalf of a college-going culture for all students and her work as a College Peer Counselor has played a pivotal role in other students’ academic careers. Her multiple interests leave her open to many future possibilities and her recent passion for journalism, including written, broadcast, and digital has garnered her both local and regional acclaim. Ana’s remarkable achievements are but a preview of successes yet to come.
University High School
College Choice: University of California, Los Angeles
Major: Bio-Psychology Circle of Friends Club (Founder, President – providing activities for special needs students and regular students to interact); Leadership (Head of Community Service Committee); Cheerleader (Varsity); Latino Student Union; Uni High Student Ambassador; Positive Behavior Support Team; Juniors and Seniors of University High Mentoring Club (Social Media Executive); Cedars-Sinai Medical Center (volunteer); UCLA Ronald Reagan Medical Center (volunteer); Children Youth & Family Collaborative (volunteer); First to Serve (serving homeless veterans); AP Scholar with Honor; Cedars-Sinai Teen Advisory Board Delegate
As someone who clearly cares deeply about those around her, Reina understands that what is learned in the classroom must be applied to the real world. Her academic ability is matched by her extraordinary leadership skills, as exemplified by her work as founder and current president of the Circle of Friends Club. This club connects special needs and traditional students by bringing them together to complete art projects and other activities. This endeavor has greatly improved the positive, inclusive atmosphere on campus. Reina’s compassion for others is clearly demonstrated through her volunteer work at both UCLA Ronald Reagan Medical Center and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where she became a shift mentor, responsible for training a team of 40 volunteers. Reina has discovered her passion for helping sick children and looks forward to a career in pediatric medicine. With such dedication to community service and enthusiasm for education, Reina is sure to achieve her goals.
Jack Moscowitz Memorial Scholarship
South Gate High School
College Choice: University of California, Berkeley
Major: Political Science Debate Team (Secretary); Mock Trial (Co-Founder, President); Yearbook (section editor); Tennis (JV); Students Run LA; Interact Club; Key Club: Sierra Club; Peer Mentor; Ram Society (Secretary); Peer College Counselor; UCLA Early Academic Outreach Program; Educational Talent Search; Tutor; LA District Attorney Intern; National Honor Society; Chicano Youth Leadership; ETS Leadership Expedition; Valedictorian
A conscientious, profoundly dedicated, and compassionate young lady, Chelsea has used her extraordinary academic success to improve the world around her with integrity and with empathy for those less fortunate. Chelsea is an active member of several clubs that focus on community service, such as Interact Club and Peer Mentors, maintains a 4.325 GPA, and all while handling her numerous responsibilities at home. An internship in the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office has focused her resolve to become an attorney in an effort to find justice for those who have been wronged, and to become a woman in her community to whom others can look for guidance and assistance. Chelsea’s unwavering drive to meet and overcome the negative influences in her life confirms no doubt about her success in college and her future endeavors.
San Pedro High School
College Choice: University of California, Los Angeles
Major: Human Biology Leadership (ASB Treasurer, Activities Commissioner); Soccer (Captain); Track and Field (Relay Captain); Cross Country; Environmental Impact Assessment; Science Bowl; Boys and Girls Club; Los Angeles Biomedical Summer Fellowship; White Point Elementary School (volunteer); Relay for Life (volunteer); Harbor Interfaith (volunteer); ILWU Feed the Community (volunteer); California Scholarship Federation (Gold Seal Bearer); Scholar-Athlete Award
Julie is a young woman of high moral character and steadfast integrity. The loss of both parents at a young age motivated Julie to become a self-starter and her resilience and strength of character have given her a tenacity that she brings to all of her endeavors. While Julie has maintained a rigorous academic course of study, she has found time to participate in extracurricular activities, including sports, student government, and community service. Julie applied for and was accepted into the highly competitive internship program sponsored by the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute, an opportunity that gave her invaluable insight into research skills in preparation for her future career in the medical field. Julie’s energy, diligence, and dedication will ensure her personal success and her many valuable contributions to society in the future.
Jae Joon “Joshua” Kim
North Hollywood High School
College Choice: Carnegie Mellon University
Science Bowl (Captain); Math Club (Captain); Science Olympiad; Cyber Patriot; Quiz Bowl; North Hollywood HS Chamber Orchestra (Cellist); Bliss Youth Chamber Orchestra (Captain, 1st Chair Cellist); Love-in-Music (volunteer); Colfax (ES) SciOly Coach Club – Outreach Science Teaching (volunteer); Senior Center (volunteer); QuestBridge Scholar; President’s Volunteer Service Award; National AP Scholar; AP Scholar with Distinction; Hitachi Foundation Scholar; LADWP Science Bowl Regional Championship Team (two years)
While life has not always been easy for Joshua and his family, he has learned to tackle daunting situations and overcome seemingly impossible setbacks. “Being able to create a community service venture with my hobby and thriving in a challenging academic environment has helped define who I am and will influence what I do in the future….” This is how Joshua explains what can only be described as a brilliant academic high school experience and a young life committed to the joy and welfare of others. Although the many disciplines of science are the focus of Joshua’s academic interests and successes, it was his first visit to a homeless shelter to play the cello with a friend that is an example of his seminal talent for motivating and engaging his peers. From this beginning, two young people became a twenty-person youth orchestra under his leadership, spending an hour on Saturdays entertaining 200 men and women at a homeless shelter. A self-motivated, charismatic, and confident young man, Joshua will undoubtedly achieve his hopes and dreams.