It’s three o’clock on a March 20th afternoon and the venue for our 13th Annual Scholarship is half full. The female students retouch their hair and make-up during quick restroom breaks. They hurry back to the dinner floor to place the finishing touches on their academy booths. Table centerpieces created by dinner’s host academy, ITA are positioned neatly between the condiments and table settings placed by MATCH students. Meanwhile, the boys in pressed dress shirts and coordinated ties assist with the “heavy lifting.” To the right of the stage, a GBAC student steams out the last wrinkles found on the Oh Snap! photo booth drapes. By four o’clock, new navy blue polo’s spring up in the middle of the floor. Our new ITEP students, Exploring Careers in Long Beach (from Cabrillo High School) arrive. All students were dressed for the dinner of their high school lives – the “interview” with that future boss and mentor is less than two hours away.
Over 620 of our friends, students and supporters joined us at our 13th Annual Scholarship Dinner, “Investing in Our Youth” at the World Cruise Center in San Pedro. The biggest celebration in ITEP history lasted 3 1/2 hours and yet, so much took place.
Over 260 ITEP students came to face with future mirror images of themselves – the transportation executive, public official, business owner and philanthropist. On the other side of the guest list, over 350 trade, transportation and logistics professionals shook hands and conversed with their investment, our ITEP students. Guests senses were amplified with firm hand shakes, the knotting of a scholarship recipient’s tie by a sponsor, the nervous student voice at the beginning of a practice speech and a family-style meal prepared and served by MATCH Academy students.
Behind each adult presenter and speaker stood a rising student and star. One of our dinner VIPs, Los Angeles City Councilman, Joe Buscaino introduced our first student speaker, Maria Navarro. Maria shyly approached the stage. Her petite frame let out a firm tone and in between bright smiles, she won the cheers of her academy (GESA) and the crowd – she had nailed it and the celebration had begun. Our 8 ITEP scholarship recipients followed. Their faces were happy and anxious in the limelight. Then came our LA Air Cargo Association Scholar, Silvia Cardona of ITA, FTA/LAFFCBA Scholar, Ruby Silva of GBAC and HAIC Scholar, Ruth Lopez of GSS.
Suddenly, with hands filled with certificates it all became real. ITEP students took their seats feeling different – they were scholarship recipients, winners, and future college students. Soon after, the spirit of a “Toro” filled the room. The Chavez family took the stage and accepted the 2013 Bill Stein Memorial Leadership Award on behalf of the late CSUDH alum and Port of Los Angeles employee, Martin D. Chavez. Behind them stood a memorable photo of Martin. His spirit was present as we presented three new Martin D. Chavez scholarships.
Then came the night’s “it” moment: the standing ovation received by Arturo Alcazar, our Carol Rowen 180 Degree Award from Barstow High School. With inspiration at a new high, Tom Good from Matson took the stage to introduce the last student speaker and scholarship recipients: Diana Jauregui from ITA (our last student speaker), Nguyen Pham from GGLA, Paola Aguirre from ITA and Viviana Vela from GESA. All 4 students received Matson Scholarships, the first four of a three-year commitment from this extraordinary shipping line.
Arturo returned to the stage to introduce our “Educator of the Year” and his principal, Derrick Delton. Happy tears were seen across the room as Derrick delivered his speech. Barstow High School came out a winner!
To close the night, Tesoro, our 2013 “Keeper of the Flame” awardee sent Dan Carlson, Vice President of Marketing and Refining, to the stage to become the night’s advocate for ITEP and our youth. Thank you, Tesoro!
“We are proud to not only be sponsors but also partners of the ITEP programs. Being partners of an educational program that emphasizes the importance of skills and educational demands in our industry sector gives students the preparation and exposure to endless possibilities in careers that are not only viable, good paying but also transferable to many sectors. For this reason we are not only excited to be partners but also appreciative for the recognition,” stated Brissa Sotelo, External Affairs Manager of Tesoro.
To our supporters and sponsors, we thank you for investing in our students and ITEP. Your generosity made an ordinary school night special. Masters and protégés met, college and career dreams emerged while others were solidified. The journey for many is just beginning.
To view more 2013 Scholarship Dinner Photos, please visit the ITEP Facebook Page here.
To our 2013 ITEP Scholarship Dinner Sponsors…
A heartfelt thanks to all for your immense generosity!
To our 2013 Scholarship Recipients, congratulations to all of you. You have made ITEP and your community proud!