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ECHS a Finalist to Have Obama Speak at Graduation

Environmental Charter High School, which worked with LMU earlier this year, has a chance to have President Obama speak at its graduation.
Environmental Charter High School, which worked with LMU earlier this year, has a chance to have President Obama speak at its graduation.

April 27, 2010

LOS ANGELES, Calif. - Environmental Charter High School, the school that helped educate LMU student-athletes about composting and recycling earlier this year, is one of the six finalists in the nation in Obama's Race to the Top Commencement Challenge. More specifically, there is a chance that President Obama could speak at ECHS's graduation at the end of this school year.

Environmental Charter High School provides the basic state education for their students, but also provides students with the opportunity of protecting the environment and maintaining a `green community'. According to the LMU Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), "this would be a huge honor for students who have put in a lot of hard work to make this happen. They are the kind of students President Obama needs to meet! If Obama were to meet these students and see a school modeled on community service, environmental stewardship, and college prep, it would have the potential to help re-write the current political-education narrative." ECHS is the only school on the list with a green mission and title, and we encourage everyone to visit their website and cast a vote for ECHS in the challenge.

The final decision will be based on public voting, as the voting began Monday and will continue until the 29th. Please visit www.whitehouse.gov/commencement and watch the video created by the ECHS students and read the written application they submitted to the White House to be one of the six finalists. Information about the other schools is also on the site, so you can see how much LMU Athletics has benefited from working with ECHS and meeting the students.

The connection between LMU athletics and ECHS was created with having members of various sports team attend a community outreach event on their campus in the Fall 2009 semester. The ECHS Green Ambassador students presented videos about composting, gave presentations on the benefits of composting and recycling, and sold organic food and products such as shirts and eco-friendly water bottles to help raise money to buy a composting bin for another nearby high school. According to Alexa Cook, past SAAC president and member of the women's swim team, the objective of LMU Athletics' involvement with ECHS was to "bring ECHS Green Ambassadors together with LMU student athletes, giving the LMU students an opportunity to learn from the ECHS students about the environmental problems present today with the hope of implementing an on-campus recycling program, which athletics would spearhead." SAAC also hoped to become mentors to these adolescents and help them envision the possibility of attending a college like Loyola Marymount University after high school graduation

The idea to create this program came about based on women's water polo team member and senior natural science major Meghan Moore's involvement with and knowledge of ECHS. Moore had the vision of creating a program where SAAC and ECHS Green Ambassadors joined forces to create a relationship to help each other. In one of Moore's classes here at LMU, she created this bond with ECHS students and had them create a banner to advertise the event and welcome the LMU student-athletes. This banner has a picture of a basketball player with the jersey number 44 in honor of Hank Gathers slam-dunking a globe into a recycling bin. Currently, Moore is working on a storm drain design program where the students will be painting marine animals on the sidewalk above storm drains to help raise awareness of storm drain pollution. Her eventual goal is to allow for the students to be able to paint and educate their community and possibly bring it to LMU or the Westchester neighborhood.

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