It feels like just last week that I attended the graduations of our high school seniors and now, all of a sudden, we are preparing to meet new groups of entering six graders who we will follow through to their graduations in 2023!
This will be our tenth year heading back to school in the Los Angeles Unified School District. When we started we were in just two schools, and now our services reach over 15,000 students a year. We begin this year at 10 partner schools in Venice, West LA, Pico Union, East Hollywood, Boyle Heights and South LA partnered with principals, teachers, counselors and you to ensure that EVERY CHILD has what they need to succeed in school.
I will be going back to school on Tuesday to welcome returning and new students and it is my hope that you will join me at one of our schools this fall to do the same. Just reply to this email if you’d like more information and we will get it done.
We could not be more excited to share our students’ accomplishments with you as we embark on a new year.
Dou’Jae recently graduated from Hamilton High, and is getting ready to embark on the next leg of her academic career at UCLA. Not only did she graduate with over a 4.0 GPA and accepted to Brown, UC Berkeley, UCLA, and Spelman College, but she is also a student that has shown a great deal of strength and perseverance in overcoming many challenges. As the oldest in her family, she took on a great deal of responsibility once her father passed away during her 10th grade year. Living with her disabled grandmother and younger sister, her life’s circumstances demanded that she grow up quickly. “At a young age, I became the ‘man’ of my family,” she said, “I aged twenty years in one day in order to provide for them. Having fun and being a kid was not an option anymore.”
Dou’jae experienced injustice at a young age, and saw a need in her family and in her community that she knew she had the ability to fill. She understood the value of her education and worked unrelentingly to rise above every challenge she faced.
Dou’Jae achieved straight As for the majority of her high school career and she took the initiative to seek out assistance and guidance from teachers, school counselors, and community organizations when she needed it. She sought out available opportunities like tutoring, CAA’s STEAM program, and college and workplace visits. A recipient of the JP Scholarship through CIS, she will be attending UCLA in the fall, and intends to study law and become the first in her family to obtain a college degree. Her drive for excellence and passion for law stem from a deep desire to help others overcome the challenges she experienced.
“I will become a lawyer,” Dou’jae writes, “And I will eventually open my own law firm dedicated to serving low-income families for affordable prices. I can’t change the fact that my father was killed, but I can do everything in my power to lighten the load for others. I continue to work my hardest in the most difficult situations for all the future children I will be helping; to ease the pain that comes along with not receiving justice. That is what drives me to relentlessly pursue academic excellence and prepare myself for the future.”