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Announcing ECHS Graduation Speakers

You are cordially invited to our upcoming graduation and culminating ceremonies at the Environmental Charter School campuses. As the classes of 2016 walk across the stage this year, they will take what they have learned at Environmental Charter Schools into their high school experience, higher education and the larger community. Our students are our superheroes.

Environmental Charter High School Graduation
Tuesday, June 14th at 5PM at El Camino College Marsee Auditorium
16007 Crenshaw Blvd, Torrance, CA 90506

Tickets are required to attend. To request tickets, please submit a request HERE.

We are excited to announce our 2016 Commencement speakers below:

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Sarah Culberson, Philanthropist/Dancer/Actress/Author/Educator

Keynote Speaker

Sarah Culberson was born in Morgantown, West Virginia to an African father and a white mother. As an infant she was given up to foster care and adopted by a loving white family in West Virginia. She grew up contemplating and dealing with questions about her identity and her biracial roots. She attended West Virginia University through an acting scholarship and earned her MFA at The American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco.

Sarah has acted on stage as well as in films and TV; some of her appearances include Strong Medicine, All of Us, Boston Legal, The Secret Life of the American Teenager, and the film American Dreamz. She also guest dances with Contra-Tiempo, a professional Urban Latin Dance Theater company . However, her biggest role so far came when she decided to locate her biological parents. Not only did she discover her father lived in a village in Sierra Leone, West Africa but also that she is from a royal family, a Mahaloi, the granddaughter of a Paramount Chief, with the status of a Princess. She also learned of the difficulties of the people in Sierra Leone. The discovery of her unique heritage and her response to this new information changed her life forever. Today, Sarah is co-founder and president of The Kposowa Foundation which works to improve education for young people, bring clean drinking water to the community, and provides sustainable opportunities for the people of Sierra Leone.

Sarah’s story has been featured nationally and internationally in the Singapore News, LA Times, Chicago Tribune, BBC radio, NPR, and Oprah and she has appeared on Good Morning America, CNN, Inside Edition, and more. Sarah’s book “A Princess Found” was released in 2009. Sarah is also the Director of Service-Learning at the Oakwood School in Los Angeles. Sarah continues to speak internationally about her inspirational quest to her birth father in a war torn country that is now rebuilding and moving forward.

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Marlene Espinoza, ECHS Alumni Speaker (Class of 2010)
Alumni Speaker

Marlene is a graduate of the Environmental Charter High School (ECHS) Class of 2010. While a student, Marlene was involved in many important on-campus initiatives including the formation of The Book Joint, otherwise known as the school library. As a member of the Book Joint Club, Marlene and her peers wanted more access to books and a dedicated reading space for students on campus. From what started out as a group of students wheeling a cart of books from one classroom to another, to a student-initiated petition, The Book Joint finally came into fruition with the support of students and teachers. Another student-initiated win for Marlene and her classmates was the addition of a healthy-option vending machine with nutritious snacks which can still be seen on campus today.

Also at ECHS, Marlene edited Exhale, the school’s Literary Magazine, and the Yearbook. One of her favorite activities was the Green Ambassadors Traveling Fashion Club, where students designed and modeled their own clothes out of recycled materials.

After receiving her high school diploma, Marlene was granted the prestigious Posse 2 Scholarship. She went on to attend Kalamazoo College and graduated in 2014 with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. Marlene was awarded the Kalamazoo Psychology Department’s Outstanding Contribution to Community prize for her four years of service to public schools in the city of Kalamazoo.

During her third year of college, Marlene studied abroad in Clermont-Ferrand, France. After graduation, she returned to France as an English Assistant in French primary schools.
Upon her homecoming to Los Angeles from Europe, Marlene revisited her roots. She accepted a position working as a paraeducator in the Special Education Department at Environmental Charter High School, and has plans to continue her education with a Master’s Degree in the near future.

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Sara Reyes, ECHS Valedictorian (Class of 2016)
Valedictorian

Sara Reyes Noriega is the third and final member of her family to graduate from Environmental Charter High School (ECHS). Sara’s brother graduated in 2012 and her sister graduated in 2013.

For the last three years, Sara has been involved in the MESA (Mathematics Engineering Science Achievement) after-school program and also served on the planning team of the annual One Day Without Shoes campus event, a day created to raise awareness about the millions of people who go without shoes. At ECHS Sara also took part in College Match, where she received intensive individualized support through the college application and submission process. Sara enjoys supporting and working with people.

She particularly enjoyed helping the ECHS counselors and supporting her peers through academic tutoring. Sara’s community service hours are off the charts because of her passion to help others! Another major highlight of Sara’s ECHS experience has been the outdoor education trip, particularly the visits to Catalina Island and Joshua Tree, which she says was very difficult but very rewarding.

Sara’s goal is to become a doctor so she can continue helping others but also to support her mom and family. She will be attending Georgetown University in the fall and ECHS will always have a special place in her heart.

Environmental Charter Middle School Culminations:


Environmental Charter Middle School – Gardena 8th Grade Culmination

Thursday, June 16th at 3PM at Hawthorne Memorial Center
3901 W. El Segundo Blvd. Hawthorne, CA 90250

Tickets are required to attend. To request tickets, please submit a request HERE.

Environmental Charter Middle School – Inglewood 8th Grade Culmination
Wednesday, June 15th at 9AM at ECMS-Inglewood
3600 W Imperial Hwy, Inglewood, CA 90303