De La Hoya Cuts Ribbon on Namesake Boyle Heights Charter High School
Olympic Gold Medalist and ten-time World Champion Fighter Oscar de la Hoya officially cut the ribbon on the Oscar de la Hoya Ánimo Charter High School in Boyle Heights today, the first public high school built in Boyle Heights in 80 years. The school is situated at the location of de la Hoya’s former boxing gym. Big congrats and thanks to Oscar; full press release and more photos by Nicholas Alan Cope after the jump.
OSCAR DE LA HOYA CELEBRATES OFFICIAL GRAND OPENING OF OSCAR DE LA HOYA ÁNIMO CHARTER HIGH SCHOOL
De La Hoya Hosts Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony Officially Marking the Grand Opening of his Namesake High School in Boyle Heights, California
(LOS ANGELES) – October 29, 2008 – Green Dot Public Schools, the largest charter school organization in Los Angeles, together with Ten-Time World Champion fighter in six weight divisions, Olympic Gold Medalist and the pride of East Los Angeles, Oscar de la Hoya, hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony today, officially opening De La Hoya’s namesake school, Oscar de la Hoya Ánimo Charter High School in Boyle Heights, California. Councilmen Jose Huizar and several hundred community members attended the celebration.
The school was originally formed in 2003 with a donation of $1 million dollars by De La Hoya along with an additional $3.5 million dollar donation by De La Hoya in 2008 to support Green Dot and its efforts to transform education in Los Angeles. Until now, classes were taking place in a temporary site while construction was completed.
The Oscar de la Hoya Ánimo Charter High School, built at the former site of De La Hoya’s Boxing Gym, was designed by TFO Architecture and built by Howard S. Wright Constructors. It is the first public high school to be built in Boyle Heights in 80 years and will be home to 550 students in grades 9-12. The four-story school is 51,281 square feet covering 0.8 acres of land and includes a rooftop deck, 25 classrooms, two computer labs, four science labs, a covered parking garage and a boxing gym. The school has several green features including high efficiency mechanical and electrical equipment, natural lighting and low emission paint and flooring.
“This school has been a dream in the making since 2000 after the great success and popularity of the Oscar de la Hoya Learning Center that opened in 1998,” said Oscar de la Hoya. “Providing our children a high-quality education and a safe environment is the best gift we can give them. Every student in the world should have access to a free, high-quality public education that prepares them for life. I encourage more people from the private and public sectors to take a more active role in education reform.”
De La Hoya, whose foundation is dedicated to helping underprivileged families in East Los Angeles, has been actively involved with his namesake school since its inception in 2003 and has delivered the commencement speech twice. De La Hoya is a strong believer in supporting the community and often visited the temporary school to encourage the students to study hard and dream big.
“Oscar de la Hoya has been an incredible partner and true believer in the Green Dot mission,” said Steve Barr, Founder of Green Dot Public Schools. “He continues to be a hero and a great role model for all the students who have graduated and are yet to graduate from Oscar de la Hoya Ánimo Charter High School.”
Oscar De La Hoya Ánimo Charter High School has graduated 322 students in the past three years and 72% were accepted into four-year universities. The school was ranked 53rd among America’s Best 100 High Schools by the U.S. News and World Report in December 2008 and was named a California Distinguished School in 2009. The school has a 96% attendance rate on a daily basis and has won several academic competitions when competing against schools with much higher income levels.
“Finally, we have a new beautiful campus,” said Oscar de la Hoya Ánimo Charter High School Principal, Dr. Harris Luu. “We will forever be thankful for Oscar’s contribution and his continued commitment to supporting public education.”
The success of the Green Dot schools, whose students score on average 113 points higher than Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) high schools on the state of California’s Academic Performance Index, is credited to the “Six Tenets” school model. The “Six Tenets of High Performing Public Schools” calls for schools to: 1) be safer and no larger than 500 students each; 2) implement a college preparatory curriculum for all students; 3) empower principals, teachers, parents and students to own all key decisions related to budgets, curriculum and hiring; 4) add more dollars to classrooms and significantly increase teacher pay; 5) value and support parent participation; 6) stay open later for community use.
By implementing this model, Green Dot has produced incredible results, helping students close the achievement gap, graduate from high school and attend four-year colleges.”
Photos by Nicholas Alan Cope.