Tag Archives: ITEP

Setting the Stage and Stealing the Show

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From left to right: Carol Rowen (ITEP founder), Jasmine Valdez (Banning High School-GSS Academy), Amy Grat (CEO of ITEP) during the 14th Annual Scholarship Dinner, “Crafting Future Careers.”

“As the first day of school approached I was more and more convinced that I should drop out even before the first bell rang… I was going nowhere fast.”

On March 27th, Jasmine Valdez took the podium to tell her story to 700+ guests during our 14th Annual Scholarship Dinner, “Crafting Future Careers.”

The third-year GSS student from Phineas Banning High School shared her history of bad habits that started in middle school. She associated with the wrong crowd, skipped school, came home late, and experimented with drugs.

“I didn’t care who was affected by my mistakes, and laughed when people were hurt by the things I said and did,” said Jasmine.

It was hard to believe that the confident, young woman on stage was once a poor student who made bad decisions. As she exposed her less-than-perfect past through every completed sentence, she grew closer to completing her final “challenge” – an acceptance speech.

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Jasmine Valdez delivers her acceptance speech after receiving ITEP’s Carol Rowen 180 Degree Award during the 14th Annual Scholarship Dinner.

Jasmine received the night’s memorable “Carol Rowen 180 Degree Award,” a recognition presented to the ITEP student who demonstrates the most dramatic turn-around.

Three years ago, with guidance from a close friend, Jasmine joined the GSS Academy. Soon after, she separated herself from the bad influences and substances and joined a new crowd, one composed of college-bound students willing to learn and industry leaders willing to coach. Her grades began to improve.

Jasmine went from a 1.5 GPA to a college-bound student and GSS academy council member. Her lunchtime now consisted of planning GSS events and activities with her peers.

“I am now meeting graduation requirements and was accepted to most of the colleges of my choice, ” added Jasmine.

“There is always hope, and always a second chance. It is never too late to pursue your dreams. If you work hard, everything is possible.”

Applause broke out.

Jasmine is an example of why we continue to bring industry professionals and students together to network and share a family-style meal. We unite the key puzzle pieces in our community to build stronger neighborhoods, youth and leaders. Yes, the scholarship awards are the treat of the night, but the interactions that begin and follow allow our ITEP “family” to craft future careers and fuel countless of college dreams.

In a few years, Jasmine will cross a stage for a second time – to accept her college diploma. We’re sure of that and so is she. We thank you for setting the stage and providing the inspiration.

Congratulations to Jasmine and all our 2014 scholarship winners and honorees!

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From left to right: ITEP Board Members – Stacey Jones (CH2M Hill), Caroline Brown (Bank of America), students from Banning High School’s ITA academy and Amy Grat (CEO of ITEP) at the 14th Annual Scholarship Dinner.

Click through our event photos to see other great moments from our 14th Annual Scholarship Dinner, “Crafting Future Careers.”

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Filed under Banning High School, GSS, Wilmington

Collaboration Brings Successful Mixer to the Harbor Area

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1 + 1 + 1 adds up to more than 3! For the first time, ITEP partnered with the Boys and Girls Club of LA Harbor (BGCLAH) and joined San Pedro businessman, Mitch Harmatz from Plaza Automotive Center to organize an exclusive networking mixer for Harbor Area college graduates and employers. The first-ever “Careers for College Graduates” was held on January 7th and delivered a packed house to the Grand Annex with 109 attendees.

The power of partnership united local talent from San Pedro, Wilmington and beyond. Alumni from the BGCLAH College Bound Program and ITEP academies networked with representatives from top companies to explore entry-level roles and opportunities. Companies represented included Boeing, Merrill Lynch, Port of Long Beach, Port of Los Angeles, PS2 Engineering, Toyota, Total Terminals Inc., and Wells Fargo (just to name a few).

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Unlike other networking events, we kept things intimate and efficient with a small venue and essential details like pre-printed business cards and resumes for college graduates to share. Copies of local job listings were also available for our young professionals.

Special guests of the night included LA Harbor Commissioner and Boeing executive, Anthony Pirozzi, Octaviano Rios, Harbor Area representative from City of Los Angeles, Mayor Eric Garcetti’s office, Elise Swanson, District Director for Congresswoman Janice Hahn, Ryan Ferguson, San Pedro Field Deputy for Councilman Joe Buscaino’s office, and Miguel Cordova, Senior Field Representative for Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi – thank you all for your attendance and contributions to the event!

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What grads and students said:
“I’ve been having such a blast. I’ve met a lot of great people and I’m walking out of this with a great learning experience – my social skills are developing, my communication skills are developing. Whether or not I walk out of here with a job, I walked out of here with something very valuable in my hands,” said Laura Orozco, ITEP alumna and UC Santa Barbara recent grad.

“I thought this event was pretty great because opposed to a lot of the bigger networking events at USC, this was very intimate and it’s not so competitive, and there’s not a huge line to talk to a specific person,” said Jacob Velasco, BGCLAH College Bound Program Alum and junior at USC.

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What business partners said:
“Very powerful event, great networking opportunity for the students and for us too… there were a lot of sharp individuals here – very professional and very driven,” said Anthony Pirozzi.

“What we have going on here in the next 5-10 years is going to be very transformative. We’re going to have a marine research center, we’re going to have a new development at Ports O Call – we’re going to have all these great opportunities, but it would be a disservice to our community if we didn’t take those amongst us along for the ride,” said Jack Baric from Baric Media Entertainment.

“It’s incumbent upon us to, as we’re creating these opportunities, to not only bring in new, fresh talent – which we desperately need – but to cultivate and nurture the talent that already exists here…” added Mr. Baric.

We couldn’t agree more!

Help us organize more events like these and develop our young workforce. Contact us for more details – we and our students welcome you with open arms, a few firm handshakes and the confidence to take on the world!

To view event photos, please visit our Facebook page.

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Filed under San Pedro, Wilmington

GPS Your Future 2013: More Than Just Numbers

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320 student attendees
27 exhibitors
25 ITEP staff, alumni, and board members
18 speakers
1 non-profit
1 university
1 community college

Who knew that an idea at an ITEP Board of Director’s retreat would’ve grown to this, even after just 4 years of inception? Our 4th Annual GPS Your Future event on October 11, 2013 had more to show off than BIG numbers. We had new additions, a revamped speaker series and stronger emphasis on new education initiatives; and it all happened within hours!

Like in previous years, trade, transportation and logistics were well-represented and well complemented by our new participants in the global business sphere – Avatronex, Prudential, StubHub Center, and Tesoro, just to name a few.

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The growth in exhibitors and participants made for an electrifying exhibit hall and recharged speaker sessions. Global industry professionals spoke about their “road to success” while sharing stories of personal and professional failure and success.

Higher education and technology also played a stronger role during the event. LA Harbor College represented their top programs (Architecture, Culinary Arts and Nursing) and were joined by CSU Dominguez Hills and the Fashion Institute of Merchandising and Design (FIDM). LA Harbor College counselors also led an interactive activity with the use of tablets, and a CSUDH Community College Outreach Officer presented a “how to transfer/get to college” session. Kudos to Sara, Dan and Pilar, our fantastic counselors/speakers! From career exploration to the discovery of an higher education pathway, ITEP students traveled through a road of their own in a matter of hours, and the results again spoke louder than any number.

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“Me, personally, all I wanted to do was go to the Marine Corps – that’s it – since I was about 6. Being here today, I figured out a few things I might want to do, like a marine biologist… or go into law enforcement – FBI, CIA, even a police academy. And it taught me something… if shoot for the moon and I miss, I’ll still land in the stars…” said Fernando, GBAC student at Carson High School.

Our teachers in attendance were also inspired.

“The questions you came up with and the interaction that you had with the adults who were presenting to you today – it was good. I was impressed,” said Holly Bowser, Lead Teacher for Barstow High School’s Mojave XP Academy, as she addressed her students.

“I learned a lot from this experience because of all of you.” And so did we.

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GPS Your Future continues to evolve thanks to our sponsors, supporters and team, and while the numbers will continue to grow (we’ll always strive for this), “bigger and better” will never be great without the time and talent from our business partners. Our students will continue to ask for more exhibitors, speakers and perhaps even cooler swag, but in the end, it’s the revamped or bigger dreams that make our event have plenty of heart. No big numbers can top that.

Want to get involved in GPS Your Future 2014 or other ITEP event? Let us know!

For event photos, check out our Facebook Page.

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Filed under Banning High School, Barstow High School, Cabrillo High School, Carson High School, Exploring Careers in Long Beach, Gardena High School, GBAC, GESA, GGLA, GSS, ITA, MATCH, Mojave XP, San Pedro High School, SPEA

NFL Player R.J. Stanford Tells Gardena High Teens to Never Quit

This post was originally published on the Daily Breeze and written by Brian Charles. Read the article here.

Miami Dolphins Cornerback, R.J. Stanford addresses ITEP students from Gardena High School's Global Leadership Academy (GGLA). (Photo credit: UPS)

Miami Dolphins Cornerback, R.J. Stanford addresses ITEP students from Gardena High School’s Global Leadership Academy (GGLA). (Photo credit: UPS)

Miami Dolphins cornerback R.J. Stanford doesn’t believe in quitting, though he had plenty of chances to in his life.

“No white flags,” he said to a crowd of teenagers at Gardena High School on Wednesday. “Don’t surrender.”

Not the fastest or the biggest, the 25-year-old from Chino didn’t make it to the NFL just because of the number of eye-popping big plays he made during his time at the University of Utah.

No, it was old fashioned perseverance that carried the one-time D student through college and to professional football.

“Failure doesn’t exist when you don’t quit,” Stanford said to the more than 500 at-risk students from the Gardena Global Leadership Academy at Gardena High School.

The academy prepares students for careers in international trade. Many who attend the school come from low-income families and are considered at-risk teens. Each month, speakers from the world of business, politics and entertainment lecture the students on how to push through to success.

GGLA teacher, Ms. Lakisha Clark accepts a signed Miami Dolphins football from R.J. Stanford. (Photo credit: UPS)

GGLA teacher, Ms. Lakisha Clark accepts a signed Miami Dolphins football from R.J. Stanford. (Photo credit: UPS)

Stanford’s “never-quit” mantra was born out of struggle, and in some cases self-imposed obstacles that tripped him up on the way to the NFL.

A natural athlete, Stanford wasn’t nearly as committed to his studies. “I wasn’t dumb, but I was a little lazy,” he told the students.

Early on at Chino High School, Stanford scored poor marks on his report card, began running with the wrong crowd and partied a little too hard. “I was that kid sleeping in the back of the classroom,” he said.

Colleges that initially showed some interest in Stanford began to have second thoughts about offering him a football scholarship. That’s when his mother, LaShawn Stanford, didn’t quit on her son. She decided to show up to school and sat in his first-period class.

“R.J. showed up to first period 20 minutes late with a bag of McDonalds,” she said.

La Shawn Stanford (UPS and ITEP Advisory Board Member for GGLA) became more involved when her son's grades began to slip and even visited him during school. (Photo credit: UPS)

La Shawn Stanford (UPS and ITEP Advisory Board Member for GGLA) became more involved when her son’s grades began to slip and even visited him during school. (Photo credit: UPS)

He got the message from his mom. After that, his grades improved and he was offered a scholarship to the University of Utah.

In 2010, he was selected by the Carolina Panthers in the seventh round of the NFL draft. He played two years with the Panthers before signing with the Dolphins in 2012.

With a week off from NFL action, Stanford flew back across the country to spend time with his mother, who still lives in Chino but serves on the board of directors of the Gardena Global Leadership Academy.

“The kids are constantly looking for role models and inspiration,” said Rob Vickery, chairman of the Gardena Global Leadership Academy board. “R.J. had some challenges and I thought he was a good person for kids to meet.”

Stanford’s talk with the students was anything but the typical lecture to at-risk kids. For example, he quizzed the students on how they plan to attain their goals.

“What does it mean to be a professional?” he asked.

The students’ hands flew up.

Most said being a professional means getting paid for your work rather than doing it for free.

Stanford agreed but added a little more detail to what being a professional truly means to him.

“A professional does something until they can’t get it wrong; an amateur does it until they get it right.”

Even with his success on the gridiron, Stanford told the students that football has never been the ultimate measure of his success.

“Football is only a platform. How well you do in school will decide how well you will do in life,” he said.

As her son stood on the stage talking to the students, LaShawn Stanford was beaming with pride.

“I am so glad to see R.J. go in the direction I had hoped he would go in,” she said. “He’s very involved with the community, very involved with his church. He goes to Chino High School in the offseason and trains with the players.”

Perhaps explaining why it’s important for him to give back, Stanford told the students about a gift, a tool set, his grandfather willed to him. The gesture was both touching and served as a lesson for him.

“Let me not wait till I am on my death bed to leave people my tools.”

The Stanford family receives a warm welcome by ITEP students in Gardena's Global Leadership Academy (GGLA). (Photo credit: UPS)

The Stanford family receives a warm welcome by ITEP students in Gardena’s Global Leadership Academy (GGLA). (Photo credit: UPS)

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View more event photos on the ITEP Facebook Page.

A heartfelt thank you to GGLA students, faculty and advisory board members for organizing this special event, especially La Shawn Stanford (UPS), Rob Vickery (BNY Mellon) and the rest of the Stanford family.

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Filed under Gardena High School, GGLA

GGLA Graduation Rates Highest Among Gardena High School Seniors

The good news is in and it comes from Gardena, California.

Our Panthers are making us proud! The school-wide graduation rate for Gardena High School’s senior class of 2013 stood at an impressive 80%. Now add an ITEP sponsored academy into the student mix, and the rate jumps to 85%!

GGLA students network with UPS executives during ITEP’s 2013 Scholarship Dinner.

Gardena High’s Global Leadership Academy (GGLA) not only boasted a higher graduation rate among all seniors, but was also the Small Learning Community (SLC) with the largest graduating senior class. See stats below.

Small Learning Communities with Grad Rates:

Architecture, Construction, Computers, Engineering, & Robotics (ACCER): 73%

Sports, Health and Public Service (SHAPS): 80%

Arts, Media, and Entertainment (AME): 83%

ITEP Academy: Gardena Global Leadership Academy (GGLA): 85%

 “We want every student at Gardena High School to gain proficiency in every subject and become fully prepared for college.  The Global Leadership Academy helps students improve academically and socially.  It also helps students develop career goals and gain confidence in themselves.  The teachers in our Global Leadership Academy are doing an excellent job to help our students achieve at high levels.  Their hard work is having a positive effect on the entire school,” said Gardena High School Principal, Dr. Russ Thompson.

The high school also saw improved California Standards Tests scores in the areas of English 9, English 10, Algebra 2, Summative Math, Chemistry, and World History.

We’d like to congratulate Gardena High School – students, teachers and administrators for their academic success. By allowing us to work in their campus and with their talented Panthers, we’re working together to make LAUSD schools better and bring additional pride to the community.

GO Panthers!

GGLA students and Advisory Board Members take a fun pose during ITEP’s 2013 Scholarship Dinner.

Feeling inspired? Show your pride and support for GLA by emailing this post to a friend/ colleague, or share it on Twitter or Facebook.

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Filed under Gardena High School, GGLA

Exploring Careers in Long Beach (ECLB) Completes Its First Year with a Culmination and Competition

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Thank you Long Beach Memorial Medical Center for being a gracious supporter and host of ECLB!

ITEP’s newest program, Exploring Careers in Long Beach (ECLB) completed its first year at Cabrillo High School – Go Jaguars!

On June 7th, fourteen ECLB students joined by parents, ECLB advisory board members and ITEP staff came together at Long Beach Memorial Medical Center to participate in a celebration and competition.

It was a culmination like no other, thanks to program sponsors like APM TerminalsTesoro, Bandai Foundation, and so many others.

In preparation for the event, ECLB sophomores split up into six groups to showcase the knowledge acquired during their time in the program. Each group represented one of the following industries: education, environmental science, global shipping, healthcare, innovation and entrepreneurship, and transportation.

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Event Chair, Jesse Urquidi of P2S Engineering checks out the Environmental Science exhibit designed by ECLB students.

Students prepared presentations and designed table-top exhibits; and in the middle of the prep work – printing, cutting, gluing, practicing speeches, not a single navy blue, ECLB polo was left without a tug of the collar.

ECLB “grads” were nervous, but ready.

During the first hour of the culmination, industry judges from visited each student group table to select the best project based on industry knowledge, life skills learned and career opportunities within the industry. We were fortunate In the end, there was only one winner – the Innovation and Entrepreneurship team.

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ECLB Culmination judges (Darick Simpson, Long Beach Community Action Partnership; Marianne Venieris, CITT/CSULB; Sharifa Batts, Ports America; Tony Williamson, TTSI; Bonnie Bair, ITEP) visit the Transportation exhibit to hear a student presentation.

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Judges visit the ECLB Healthcare exhibit.

Big congratulations to Bottreychip, Brenda, Jeth and Valentino for their hard work. Each winning team member received bragging rights and a $100 cash prize. Could we have a future Steve Jobs in the midst?

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The winning ECLB team, Innovation & Entrepreneurship, show off their Benjamins. Far left: Amy Grat, ITEP. Far right: Stacey Jones, CH2M Hill; Matt Brown, Cabrillo High School.

Then there were the parents, who mingled with industry partners and cheered their sophomores on – they would see their children cross the stage twice during their time as high school parents.

All students received the first official ECLB certificates of completion. In addition, four special awards were presented to Cabrillo High over-achievers. We’re looking at you, Ivan, Naima and Valentino!

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Ivan Ibarra, ECLB Student, receives a Workshop Perfect Attendance Award. Three other students also received special recognition awards.

So what’s next for ECLB?

All first-year ECLB students will move into the second phase of the program that will involve welcoming and mentoring new ECLB students – these juniors will be the new ITEP ambassadors!

A successful night marked the beginning of a new chapter for ECLB and we welcome all who wish to be part of the next ECLB journey. Join our ECLB Advisory Board, host a future workshop or make a donation. Want to be involved in another way? Let us know.

Help Cabrillo High students explore careers in Long Beach and cross another culmination stage. Student dreams can only get bigger and that’s not bad for Long Beach or the support groups that stand behind them.

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The lovely ECLB ladies from the Colleges & Education group. Good job!

We would like to thank all sponsors, supporters, ECLB advisory board members, ITEP staff, volunteers, ECLB students and parents for helping us launch our first after-school program and ECLB culmination ceremony and competition. Special recognition to ECLB Advisory Board Chair, Stacey Jones of CH2M Hill and Event Chair, Jesse Urquidi of P2S Engineering.

Thank you all for nurturing the little idea that could. 

For additional ECLB Culmination photos, visit the ITEP Facebook Page.

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Filed under Cabrillo High School, Exploring Careers in Long Beach, SWAG

The Mock Trial Turned Muse: Students Tackle Cyberbullying and Discover New Law Careers

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Attorney Heidi Dudderar (left) advises the ITA defense team from Phineas Banning High School during ITEP’s 2nd Annual Law Day.

15 students from Phineas Banning High School’s International Trade Academy (ITA) received a day-long crash course in the U.S. judicial system and explored various careers in the legal profession during ITEP’s 2nd Annual Law Day.  From the comfort of the 14th floor of the Keesal Young and Logan, our young attorneys-for-the-day fiercely debated the legal ramifications of cyberbullying in the case of Billings vs. Pearson.

“There are so many things that can be argued in a case,” said Carlos. The ITA junior spoke shyly, but with new confidence and curiosity about the legal process.

His fictional client, Cathy Jean Pearson (Aka “the bully”), was free to go—the verdict came back as a hung jury.

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ITA students step into the Keesal Young and Logan library to discuss case notes and prepare for cross examinations.

Minutes prior, we had observed Carlos, writing feverishly on his notepad as the plaintiff and defense team participated in direct and cross-examination. The intensity of hands-on learning had momentarily stripped away his shyness.

On the plaintiff’s side, things were a bit somber. The team was not able to secure a win for their client, but they did gain valuable experience making persuasive arguments. They also set the bar higher for next year, noting they wanted to try a criminal case and use props – a robe and gavel for the acting judge. The 2014 Law Day was in the works, and all the adults in the room smiled approvingly.

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The firm’s dining hall transforms into a courtroom for ITEP’s 2013 Law Day.

“It was a lot of fun today – I liked it,” said Sam, another ITA junior who testified as a witness for the plaintiff’s side. However, he made a confession to us before boarding his bus. “I was looking forward to arguing, but I was a witness… I like arguing… I wanted to prove my point.”  Next year, Sam!

Everyone played a role in the mock trial, from court reporter to case witness to attorney, and after all the “scary” parts (talking, presenting and cross examinations) were over, students exchanged constructive criticism and a shared few laughs with the real-life attorneys, their teachers for the day.

“…They are expected to pick up a process and a way of thinking that attorneys work on their entire life, and they’re expected to do it in six hours, and many of them wow me every single time because they just do it! It’s amazing,” said Jennifer Meeker, ITA advisory board member and attorney for Nossaman.

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ITA students discuss mock trial details while the jury deliberates.

If a mock trial during a Saturday can engage a young mind and awaken a student’s full potential, imagine what other elements are left to be uncovered? Even if we just skimmed the surface of future dream careers, the results are nothing short of inspirational.

“I learned how much work lawyers have to do. It’s a lot of work… but having the experience today, it made me actually consider a future in law – it’s interesting,” said Carlos.

“My dream is to go to USC – that’d be a dream.” The junior also spoke about his interest in civil engineering and architecture.

Encouraging Carlos to dream big is the key to ensuring a bright future –both his own and that of his community.  Giving Carlos and his classmates the opportunity to explore their dreams through hands-on experiences such as Law Day is ITEP’s mission and our daily delight.

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Our hard-working team! Left to right: Attorney Heidi Dudderar, Attorney Jennifer Meeker from Nossaman LLP, Attorney Lisa Barnett from A. Lavar Tayor Law Offices and Susie Emami, ITEP Program Manager.

We are extremely grateful for the guidance and support of Jennifer Meeker from Nossaman LLP, Lisa Barnett from A. Lavar Tayor Law Offices and Heidi Dudderar. Thank you, ladies! You made the 2nd Annual ITEP Law Day special and successful. We’d also like to recognize our gracious host, Keesal Young and Logan for lending their offices, staff and catering services. 

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Filed under Banning High School, ITA