Valedictorians: From left, Tina Wu of Franklin High School, Carlson Marquez of Eagle Rock High School and Cittlalli Torres of PUC eCALS.

Most of the Area’s Graduates Are College Bound

2019 Editions Featured Front Page June More News News


By T.A. Hendrickson

The high school graduates of 2019 in Northeast Los Angeles have earned the pomp and circumstance that surrounds Graduation Day.

Here are the highlights:

Tina Wu will be the valedictorian of the Class of 2019 at Benjamin Franklin High School in Highland Park. Wu, who was the highest scoring individual this year in the city’s Academic Decathlon, will attend Yale University.

Carlson Marquez, the Class of 2019 valedictorian at Eagle Rock High School (ERHS), will attend Stanford University.

Wu will be joined in the Ivy League by two other graduates from Franklin and one from ERHS: From Franklin, Melanie Almanza will attend Cornell University and Lindsey Alvarez will attend Columbia University on a full scholarship from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. From ERHS, Lynne Kim will attend Yale.

Marquez will be joined at Stanford by fellow ERHS graduates Natalie Rush and Julianna Keipp.

In all, 256 seniors from Franklin, out of 300 graduates, are going to college. Of them, 163 are going to community college, 73 to universities in the Cal State system, 11 to the University of California (including two to UCLA) and nine to private, four-year universities and colleges (including one each to Amherst Collegeand Smith College and two to Occidental College).


At Eagle Rock High, 155 of 410 seniors were college-bound as of press time on May 30, but the senior survey was still in progress, so the number of college-bound students is expected to go up. The preliminary tally shows 62 seniors going to community college, 37 to the Cal State system and 27 to the University of California (including two to UCLA and two to Berkeley). Another 29 graduates will attend private, four-year colleges and universities or out-of-state public universities (including one to Occidental, one to Swarthmore College, two to USC, two to Michigan State and four to Mount Saint Mary’s).


Another eight seniors from Franklin and ERHS – six young men and two young women – are going into the military after graduation, including five to the Marines and one each to the Air Force, Navy and Army. Other post-graduation plans include finding a job, joining a family business and taking some time off before going to college.


The College Bound Tally at Local Charter Schools


Public charter schools in NELA also posted impressive results.


At PUC eCALS (which stands for Partnership to Uplift Communities/Early College Academy for Leaders and Scholars) in Glassell Park, the valedictorian, Cittlalli Torres, has been designated a University of California Regent’s Scholar, the highest undergraduate academic honor bestowed by the UC and one that comes with a full scholarship. Torres, the first person in her family to go to college, will attend UC Irvine. In all, 70 of 85 graduating seniors at PUC eCALS are going to college – 36 to community college, 26 to the Cal State System, five to the University of California and three to private colleges and universities or out-of-state public universities.


At Renaissance Arts Academy in Glassell Park, 42 of 43 graduating seniors are going to college and one young woman has enlisted in the Marines. (Each Ren Arts graduate speaks at graduation; there is no valedictorian.) Of the college-bound seniors at Ren Arts, six are going to community college, 10 to the Cal State system, 17 to the University of California (including six to UCLA and two to Berkeley) and nine to private colleges and universities or out-of-state public universities (including one to Yale, one to Sarah Lawrence and one to the University of Michigan.)


In the Alliance charter school network, 121 of 122 seniors are college bound from the Alliance Leichtman-Levine Environmental Science and Technology High School in Glassell Park, as are 127 of 136 seniors from the Alliance Susan & Eric Smidt Technology High School in Lincoln Heights.

Valedictorian José Avila of Alliance Susan & Eric Smidt Technology High School
Valedictorian Christian Watson of Alliance Leichtman-Levine Environmential Science


Respectively, the valedictorians, Jose Avila and Christian Watson, will attend Bowdoin College and UCLA.  In total, 103 of the graduates from these two Alliance schools will attend community college, 101 will attend the Cal State system, 32 will attend the University of California (including three to UCLA and two to Berkeley) and nine will attend private colleges and universities (including four to Mount St. Mary’s and two to Middlebury College). One will attend the University of Virgina.

So, here’s to the Class of 2019. Here’s to the future.


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1 thought on “Most of the Area’s Graduates Are College Bound

  1. Wonderful article about NELA high school seniors bound for college or the military!

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