Tag Archives: Wilmington

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

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

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