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High school seniors present final projects to district officials

MONTEBELLO— Showcasing ingenuity and commitment, more than 200 graduating seniors from the Montebello Unified School District presented their capstone projects to district officials, community partners and industry representatives at the inaugural Pathways Senior Exhibition.

The event, held June 6 at the Quiet Cannon in Montebello, also provided an opportunity for students to win $1,500 in scholarships provided by the Friends of MUSD Foundation.

“Since its implementation, our Pathways have provided students the chance to achieve success while in our classrooms and beyond,” school board President Edgar Cisneros said. “The innovative projects seen here today are the culmination of years of rigorous instruction and hard work and we wholeheartedly thank our community partners and the Friends of Montebello Unified Foundation for their gracious support of Pathways. We wish the best of luck to our graduates in their future endeavors.”

There are 11 dedicated Pathway programs spread out among the district’s four comprehensive high schools — Montebello, Bell Gardens, Schurr and the Applied Technology Center — encompassing a wide range of possible career opportunities tailored to meet the needs of 21st century marketplaces.

A key to the success of Pathways, according to keynote speaker, ATC senior Anthony Garcia, is the flexibility in its curriculum.

Garcia, enrolled in the Culinary Hospitality Educational Fundamentals pathway, described his decision to switch from culinary arts to hospitality management midway through his junior year after accepting an internship with world-renowned event coordinator Lilly Rocha.

“That is the beauty I see in Pathways,” Garcia said. “It opens your eyes to a field full of jobs and careers in so many different areas, and gives you the knowledge to expand into those careers and jobs.”

After the morning showcase, master of ceremony Jose Lopez, an Engineering and Design Pathway junior from Schurr, welcomed school board members, district administrators and Friends of MUSD Foundation representatives.

Medals were awarded by the superintendent of education and high school principals to seniors who demonstrated extraordinary leadership within their pathway, as well as graduates who have maintained a grade point average of 3.5 or higher. The Friends of MUSD Foundation then presented medallions to the top three exemplary Pathways projects.

Foundation President Lovey Sherman presented a $1,500 Friends of MUSD scholarship that will be shared by the first place winners — Charles Aceves, Alyssa Ascencio, Jose Arenas, Michael Carrillo, Jimi Estrada, Kevin Campos and Kevin Martinez of the Applied Technology Center’s Architecture, Construction and Engineering Pathway. Their winning project was entitled “The Vortex Cannon: Construction, Design and Graphics.”

Graduating seniors not only exhibited their final projects, they also participated in Senior Exit interviews conducted by community partners and industry representatives, who offered their feedback and expertise, appraising student resumes and work samples for their mastery of the Pathways graduate profile — critical thinking, communication, creativity and collaboration.

“Pathways continue to grow as our students explore their career options and make real-world contributions that will enhance their ability to be life-long learners,” MUSD Superintendent of Education Susanna Contreras Smith said. “We look forward to seeing what the future brings not just for our graduates but also for our returning high schoolers.”