Providing the Educational Opportunities that Change Lives

Our History

Currently, Making Waves serves nearly 1,100 middle school, high school, and college students from Richmond and San Francisco. Below is a concise timeline showing the path to this remarkable achievement.


Making Waves is established and selects 46 fifth graders from two low-performing elementary schools in Richmond to participate in an eight-year tutoring and teaching program.


 Glenn W. Holsclaw is appointed Executive Director.


The Second Wave, a group of 50 students from Richmond schools, is admitted to the program and Making Waves expands its range of services to students.


 The First Wave graduates from high school. The Third Wave is admitted.


 Making Waves Education Program expands its operations to San Francisco.


 Richmond’s Second Wave graduates from high school and from that point on each new Wave has had six to 75 students.


Richmond’s Third Wave graduates from high school; San Francisco’s First Wave starts high school.


Richmond‘s Fourth Wave graduates from high school; San Francisco’s Second Wave starts high school.


Richmond’s Fifth Wave graduates from high school; Richmond’s Eighth Wave enters high school; San Francisco’s Third Wave enters high school. Making Waves Academy opens with 100 Wave-Makers in its fifth grade class.


Nearly nine in 10 students of this year’s graduating class gain acceptance to four-year institutions in the fall, 47 percent of whom are accepted to campuses in the University of California system, which accepts the top 12 percent of students in the state.

In the fall, Making Waves Academy expands to include fifth and sixth grade classes, and doubles its enrollment to 200 students.


Making Waves Academy launches a seventh grade class and total enrollment reaches 300.

In August of 2009, MWA celebrated the opening of its new permanent school site in Richmond, CA.


In June, 100% of Making Waves graduates from the Bay Area will attend college. Nine in 10 will go on to four-year institutions. Three-quarters of the graduates are accepted by University of California campuses.

In the fall, Making Waves Academy adds an eighth grade class and enrolls a total of 400 Wave-Makers onto our Richmond campus.


Making Waves Academy matriculates its eighth graders into our first high school class in the Upper School program.

Seventy one Wave-Makers in our Richmond and San Francisco Making Waves Education Program headed off to college.


Making Waves Academy opened its new state-of-the-art school building to expand its current Richmond campus by serving grades 5-10 in our Middle and Upper schools.

Making Waves Education Program sends 100% of graduating seniors (9th Wave) to attend colleges.


Alton B. Nelson, Jr. is appointed Chief Executive Officer of Making Waves Academy.  
Sherry A. Smith is appointed Managing Director of Making Waves Foundation.

MWA Middle and Upper Schools welcomes approximately 700 students in grades 5-11 onto our Richmond campus in August. 

Making Waves Education Program continues to steward three cohorts of 101 students in our high school program.  

Our evolving Making Waves College and Alumni Program (CAP), directed by Melissa Fries, adds five College Coaches to our team, who continue to mentor and support more than 260 Wave-Makers currently enrolled in colleges and universities nationwide.

In June, the Making Waves Education Program's final cohort in San Francisco is supported by CAP.


Making Waves Academy welcomes 112 new 5th graders, now serving grades 5 through 12.

CAP serves 283 wave-makers enrolled in colleges and universities nationwide.