Tag Archives: Karen Bajza

Pilots, Pirates, Aztecs AND Colts invade Terminal Island for a day of career discovery

On National Pearl Harbor Day, more than 265 ITEP Academy students from Banning, San Pedro, Carson and Barstow High School arrived at the US Coast Guard base on Terminal Island for a day of exploration and excitement in discovering the almost unlimited career opportunities within the United States Coast Guard. For some students, this was their first time seeing the Pacific Ocean.

After a few words from USCG Commander Andrew Clyburn, students rotated through five stations: Marine Safety and Security, Team K-9 Unit, CGC George Cobb, Base Support Unit Clinic San Pedro, Small Boat Station LA – LB, and the Coast Guard Recruiting Office LA. Students explored the CGC George Cobb, learned about scuba safety gear, watched as working dog Ryder and his handler did an explosives search demonstration, and competed in a push-up contest won by GBAC Lead Teacher Ms. Pettus-Alexander.

ITEP is very grateful for the close partnership it enjoys with the Coast Guard and appreciates the willingness of officers and enlisted personnel to participate in academy advisory boards, on-campus presentations, and student coaching. Most of our students would not realize the opportunities available in their own backyards if not for the determination of the Coast Guard to present awe-inspiring tours like you do. Special thanks to Lieutenant Arthur Loughran, Captain Roger Laferriere, and Commander Andrew Clyburn. Thank you Coasties!

For more photos check out our photo album

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Filed under Banning High School, Barstow High School, Carson High School, Gardena High School, GBAC, GESA, GGLA, GSS, Mojave XP, San Pedro High School, SPEA

Mojave XP moves full steam ahead!

Barstow’s Mojave XP Logistics Academy is bustling with energy under the new leadership of Principal Derrick Delton and Lead Teacher, Ms. Solveig Kruse.  Over the past few months, ITEP has been working closely with these educators to support their goals for Barstow High School, while also connecting them to the broader network of career academies throughout the state.

Derrick Delton has worked for Barstow Unified School District since 2001 and brings a wealth of experience to his role as Principal.  From starting out as a Math teacher at Barstow High School,  Delton has also served as a coach for the girls varsity basketball team, vice principal at the high school, principal for Cameron Elementary School, and principal for Barstow Junior High School.

Solveig Kruse was appointed Lead Teacher for Mojave XP in September, taking over for Gary Johnson who has led the Academy for the past three years.  Kruse was recently honored as a County Teacher of the Year.  Her expertise in teaching Business Math, Marketing and Entrepreneurship classes aligns perfectly with Mojave XP’s goal of bringing industry into the classroom.

ITEP’s COO Bonnie Bair assisted Delton and Kruse in receiving a thorough orientation to the California Partnership Academy (CPA) system by facilitating their participation and accompanying them to the CPA Fall Institute in Sacramento sponsored by the California Department of Education.  Joined by over 400 teachers from across California, Delton and Kruse were able to attend workshops and learn best practices in how to prepare high school students to succeed in both college and careers.  “The CPA conference was very informative. It gave me the opportunity to meet with colleagues from around the state and pick their brains on how to make our program more effective” said Delton.

ITEP is very pleased to help Mojave XP Logistics Academy continue on its pathway to success. “Barstow is well on its way. Principal Delton and Ms. Kruse saw that they were a part of a major educational reform movement and that CPAs really work… they were excited” said Bair.

ITEP, along with the Mojave XP Advisory Board, led by former Mayor of Barstow and BNSF Executive, Lawrence Dale,  has just launched  the ITEP Industry Coaching Program. This is the fourth of ITEP’s academies to work with “Coaches” from business and industry who meet for monthly sessions with students and cover topics including:  Academics Matter, Preparing for My Career, College Prep, and Business Skills/Leadership Development.  Companies including Desert Community Bank, Teamsters Union Local 166, Barstow Unified School District, Marine Corps Logistics Base, and Brubaker Mann have all been scheduled to participate. “This is an excellent opportunity to build a bridge between students and the business world, and it gives young people the possibility for asking questions that they would not usually be able to ask of industry professionals” said Reuel Herron, Branch manager for Desert Community Bank and Mojave XP Advisory Board member. This is what the students had to say:

“I liked the industry coaches because some of us didn’t know each other and they taught us to meet each other in a business way that was really fun.”  – David Green

“Thank you for sharing about your career and how you did it and the steps it took you to do it.  And you taught us that there is more to life after high school.” -James Silva

“Thank you for sharing with us about your jobs and how you got there.  I’m looking forward to hearing more from you guys.”  – Nikki Aaron

Congratulations Barstow High School and Mojave XP Logistics Academy.  You’re on the right track and ITEP is behind you all the way!

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Filed under Barstow High School, Mojave XP

Sun, rain and double rainbows!

The weather didn’t disappoint for the ITEP Friends and Family Sunset Sail. On Friday September 30, 15 ITEP Advisory Board members, Gardena Global Leadership Academy (GGLA) students, teachers from Gardena and Carson High School, and ITEP alumni, set sail on the Los Angeles Maritime Institutes (LAMI) Brigantine, the Exy Johnson, for a sunset sail through the Los Angeles Harbor. Each passenger donated $50 to sponsor one academy student for a half day sail.

With clear skies and sunshine ahead, the group set sail at Berth 78, Ports O’ Call in San Pedro and for three GGLA students it  was their first time at sea. The TopSail Youth Program uses sail training to provide real-life challenges with the goal of developing transferable skills from the classroom and into the workplace. GGLA students helped sail the vessel and mix and mingled with the business partners and volunteers who were on board.

Despite the rain, the sail ended perfectly with a double rainbow and a beautiful sunset. ITEP would like to give a special thanks to Nancy Richardson, Ed Steiner, the LAMI volunteers for all their help and support, to Ann Burckle for sponsoring the participation of the four GGLA students, and to Captain Rob who gallantly led the group through safe waters and capricious weather. This was an amazing opportunity for GGLA students. With the money raised, we will be able to send more ITEP students out to sea very soon.

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Filed under Gardena High School, GGLA

GESA sophomores welcomed with a big top and an even bigger check!

There was a special surprise at this year’s Global Environmental Sciences Academy (GESA) Welcome Banquet. Under a big top with carnival games and decorations, GESA greeted the new sophomore class and received a generous donation from Valero of $20,000.

For the first time this year, ITEP was among the 13 Harbor-area organizations to receive funds raised from the 2011 Valero Texas Open and Benefit for Children Golf Classic. With their donation of $20,000, Valero has committed to sponsoring GESA’s Signature Trip, the Catalina Environmental Leadership Program (CELP). Steve Faichney, Risk Management and Government Affairs Manager, was on hand to present GESA with the check.  “ITEP’s focus in preparing the next generation of a job-ready and college-prepared workforce is critical to all industries in and outside the harbor area. Valero is proud to serve in an effort to grow the ITEP Academies… we’re committed to do that” said Faichney.

Valero has been a longstanding and dedicated community partner in Wilmington and a supporter of ITEP since 2008. In addition to sponsoring ITEP’s Annual Scholarship Dinner, Valero employees have volunteered as mentors, classroom speakers, mock interviewers, and represent the company on several of ITEP’s academy advisory boards including ITEP Board member Mary Gutierrez, Lab Supervisor, who serves on the GESA Advisory Board and Steve Faichney, who serves on the Board of Directors.

After the check presentation, GESA students and faculty had the opportunity to meet and greet GESA Advisory Board members including Gabriela Perez, Internship Coordinator for the Port of Los Angeles, Nancy Richardson, TopSail Youth Program, Martin Chavez, Human Resources Division Officer for the Port of Los Angeles, Yair Crane, Managing Director of Next Global Stage LLC ,  and GESA Advisory Board Chair, Bob Stearns Client Services Director for Calscience Environmental Laboratories, Inc.

The GESA welcome banquet was a spectacular start to the new school year. Thanks to the generous support of Valero, GESA will be able to continue the opportunities and events unique to GESA. Thank you, Valero, for your outstanding support too ITEP and GESA.  You are helping us graduate our GESA students job-ready and college-prepared in an even bigger way.

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Filed under Banning High School, GESA

ITA students build towers tall and soar spirits high


On Friday, October 7, over 140  juniors and seniors, along with teachers and ITEP business partners from the International Trade Academy (ITA) at Phineas Banning High School welcomed incoming sophomores with the challenge of building the tallest tower and the call to take responsibility for their own academic and career success at the very first ITA “Earning The Right” Conference.

Traditionally, this event has been an informal party; however, this year, ITA Lead Teacher Leticia Finley and ITA Advisory Board Member Akary Busto of Lloyds TSB International traded the cake and karaoke for an afternoon of team-building activities, motivational presentations, and networking with alumni and board members.  The overall theme of the Conference was that students cannot sit back and expect things to be given to them, but must work actively to “earn the right” to partake in the many opportunities available through ITA.

The highlight of the Conference was Business Keynote Speaker, Rob Vickery, who shared his own career journey from an economically challenged upbringing in Cornwall, England to his current role as U.S. Director at Lloyds TSB International.  Vickery described both his successes and his failures along the way and challenged the students to embrace adversity and never take no for an answer. “No mission is mission impossible.”

Among the most powerful experiences available to ITA students is the opportunity for seniors to participate in the National Youth Leadership Forum (NYLF) in Washington, D.C.   For 11 years, Pasha Stevedoring & Terminals (PST) has generously sponsored this program, enabling hundreds of ITA students to experience a world far beyond Wilmington.  Nancy Perez, alumna from the Class of 2011, presented David VanWaardenburg and Peggy Barteske of Pasha with the Above and Beyond Award in recognition of their generous and continued support.

After enjoying a delicious lunch prepared by the MATCH Academy and served by ITA alumni, students and ITEP Advisory Board members participated in a team-building exercise.  Each team was given a bag of supplies with the goal of making the tallest tower out of cups and paper. But, there was a twist:  each group received a slightly different set of building supplies.  ITA teacher Marlene Mendez facilitated the discussion afterwards. “…the point was to challenge them to work with what they had.  Life isn’t fair… it’s about working with the tools you are given… it’s not about a competition, it’s about working together” said Mendez.

Attending the event as honored guests were ITEP business partners from the Port of Los Angeles, Conoco Phillips, U.S. Department of Transportation, Fast Lane Transportation, Los Angeles Harbor College, and Lloyds TSB International.  Students also had the opportunity to visit booths and speak with representatives from the United States Coast Guard, Los Angeles Harbor College, Cal State Dominguez Hills and USC.

ITEP would like to thank Rob Vickery, not only for his inspirational remarks, but also for Lloyds’ generous sponsorship, which made possible the delicious food and delightful décor.  Many thanks as well to Leticia Finley, Akary Busto, and the ITA student leaders who put together a phenomenal event that will set the tone for the rest of the Academy experience.

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Filed under Banning High School, ITA

MATCH welcomes students with food, fun, and FHA!

MATCH Alumni returned to their roots to support incoming sophomores during the MATCH Welcome Banquet last Thursday hosted by MATCH Academy seniors. Richard Tucker, 2011 summer intern for Friendship Transport, Inc., and Evelin Cortez, 2011 summer intern for Tesoro, emceed the Banquet. The incoming sophomores received a great introduction to MATCH’s award-winning program and the business leaders from companies including the Port of Los Angeles, International Cargo Equipment, PCC Logistics, and Good Source Solutions, who work diligently to support them.

New this year, board members attended a private mixer before the Banquet for an opportunity to speak with MATCH faculty about their challenges and needs in the classroom. Immediately following, the group headed to the Banquet where they mixed and mingled with the new class, and reconnected with  junior and seniors who they were already well acquainted with. “It is such a pleasure to watch students, like Richard Tucker, develop into confident role models for the younger classes. In a true example of the success of our program, I am excited to see the sophomores grow throughout the next three years.” – Susie Emami, MATCH Program Manager.
 

The Banquet featured a presentation by Culinary Arts instructor Virginia Marsoobian of the Future Homemakers of America-Home Economics Related Occupations (FHA Hero) Program. Students engage in local, regional and state competitions in various culinary arts categories such as commercial food preparation and culinary arts displays. These competitions allow MATCH students the opportunity to use lessons learned inside the classroom and apply them in a fun and creative way. MATCH students have been competing since 2005 and have enjoyed a great deal of success.


MATCH alumni were on hand to welcome the new sophomores and offer words of wisdom. They explained how participating in MATCH and competing in the FHA Hero competitions changed their lives.  Many have attended or are attending culinary programs throughout the U.S. on substantial scholarships won through the various competitions. Alumni who came to the banquet included Amber Jones, class of 2007, who received a scholarship to attend culinary school in Vermont, and Richard Aguero, class of 2007, who received an $85,000 scholarship to attend the Culinary Institute of America in New York.

Special thanks go out to MATCH Lead Teacher Janet Furuya for putting on such an enjoyable event and Patricia Scott, of LAUSD, for her continued support. With dedicated faculty, industry support, and alumni who come back again and again, it is obvious the MATCH Academy “family” bond is very strong. Here’s to another great year of fun, learning, and culinary excellence!

~Food Network Star Jaime Oliver interviewed Rigo Salas, another successful MATCH alumni! Check out the article here!

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Filed under Banning High School, MATCH

GESA alums explore green growth at the port… and meet the Mayor!

GESA alums participated in the second annual PortTechLA Expo. They didn’t just volunteer, they explored a whole new world of opportunity and innovation. Thanks to the hospitality of Executive Director Jeffrey Milanette of PortTechLA and Herb Zimmer, Chairman of PortTechLA, GESA Alumni Cecilia Armenta, Alma Garduno, and Oscar Vargas got a firsthand look into the world of emerging green technologies and peered into the minds of business leaders and budding entrepreneurs.

They greeted participants and prepped speakers, listened to Keynote Speaker, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa speak about growth and job opportunities. “I got to meet a lot of different people… I really liked seeing them present their products, it was very interesting and inspiring” said Cecilia Armenta. Oscar Vargas was captivated by the idea of using algae instead of fossil fuels. “Volunteering gave me the opportunity to network that I wouldn’t normally have had. I had a great conversation with Tim Bentley an Aerospace Engineer. We talked about the use of algae to produce fuel. Instead of using fossil fuels or ethanol, they use algae: a fast reproducing organism. Because algae it isn’t used for human consumption,  we can sustainably grow it and use is solely for fuel” said Vargas.


ITEP’s support for our students doesn’t stop at graduation. Through our expanding Alumni Network, we continue to engage students and provide them with career resources, job opportunities, internships, and conferences like the PortTechLA Expo.

Thank you, Jeff and Herb, for making this experience possible. We are excited to see where these young people will go and know that this opportunity only intensified their aspirations for the future. Go green generation!

PortTechLA is a public/private non-profit technology center and business incubator operated by a coalition consisting of the City of Los Angeles, Port of Los Angeles and the San Pedro and Wilmington Chambers of Commerce. Its mission is to attract and mentor companies with technologies that will enable the Port of Los Angeles, and ports worldwide, to meet their immediate and future environmental, energy, security and logistics goals.

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Filed under Banning High School, GESA