The Class of 2017 from ECMS-Gardena is, in a word, empowered. These bright, young minds seated proudly in the Hawthorne Memorial Center among family, friends and their teachers and staff seemed more than ready for high school. The culmination ceremony focused on the middle schoolers’ accomplishments.
School counselor, Daniella Torrecilla, congratulated the almost-freshmen on all that they were able to achieve at ECMS-Gardena. But she was right in saying that “it’s only the beginning.” These students have accomplished much in middle school including maintaining impressive GPAs, speaking at various community events, and experiencing field and camping trips – a first for many. As high-achieving as these students are, they are modest and kind as student speakers thank their teachers for changing their lives in the best way. Salutatorian Mely Sosa gave a touching speech about the impact that Environmental Charter Schools had on her and her classmates. She said, “I will always keep a space in my heart open for this place,” and she thanked her teachers saying “they truly make a difference.” The students at ECMS-Gardena are successful in their own right but are grateful for the support they received from their dedicated teachers and families.
Their achievement is embodied in valedictorian Jennefer Vivar who struggled with her weight at the beginning of her middle school experience, but through the support of her teachers at ECMS-Gardena and her own resolve and hard work, she achieved a healthy weight and maintained good lifestyle habits. Now she will continue on to high school a healthy, confident young woman. Vivar, like the rest of her class, is empowered and she knows it as she declared, “I can achieve anything and I will.”
These students are considerate, compassionate and have an understanding outside of themselves. They feel grateful and share this gratitude with those who have supported them in achieving their goals so far. As inspirational speaker Angeline Granados reminded her fellow students, “You should never give up, because the reason why we’re celebrating today is that we did it.”
Congratulations to the ECMS-Gardena Class of 2017! Good luck to all of you in high school and beyond! We hope that you will continue to achieve and strive for excellence in all that you do.