Richmond, California, June 11, 2021 – Nearly 100 students, the largest ever class to graduate from Making Waves Academy (MWA), celebrated their achievements at a drive-thru commencement ceremony, with diplomas presented on a traditional stage and photo opportunities with school leaders and board members provided.

Valedictorian (1 of 2)

“This class has shown enormous perseverance, resilience, and fortitude,” said Dr. Evangelia Ward-Jackson, Senior School Director. “Our Wave-Makers have worked diligently to achieve their goals, and they have persisted, in excellence, despite competing distractions and the impacts of this unprecedented school year. I honor our Wave-Makers, and I celebrate their success, knowing full well that they will continue to make us all so very proud.”

We are proud to congratulate Valedictorians Benjamin Sanchez, heading to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and Johanna Figueroa to UC Berkeley this fall and want to highlight Gabriel Arteaga who has had perfect attendance (zero absences) all eight years of our program. Gabriel will also be attending UC Berkeley.

In a year made especially challenging by the COVID-19 pandemic, all members of the Class of 2021, the 7th in the school’s history, achieved truly remarkable outcomes. College admission rates continued the Academy’s six-year upward trend across different institution types. And based on commitment data, this class is expected to have the highest number of graduates completing college in the history of the school.

Fully 70 percent of the class will be continuing on to four-year colleges. All but five Wave-Makers will be staying in state for their higher education, with 23 heading to California State University and 34 to UC campuses – 13 to UC Berkeley alone and 4 to UCLA. Of the 17 percent heading to community colleges, one will follow in his father’s footsteps by learning welding technology at Laney College.

Valedictorian (1 of 2)

Thirteen percent of the class is planning to move straight to the workforce, including one student who has started his own media company and another who will work at her family’s new pop-up restaurant in San Francisco.

“The resilience shown by our Wave-Makers and the commitment to their academic achievement, mental health, and socio-emotional growth demonstrated by our faculty, staff, and school leadership consistently inspired me throughout this difficult year, said Alicia Malet Klein, President of the Board, Making Waves Academy. “I have no doubt that our graduates will move forward with the skills and fortitude that will position them well to achieve their life dreams and to recycle their success in ways that are meaningful to them.”

MWA Board and Staff Leadership 

Alton B. Nelson Jr., CEO, said, “The success of our students is all the more amazing during a time of such challenge and social isolation. The fact that our students are thrusting forward, with hope and excitement for the future, at levels consistent with the high level of achievement that has been set by preceding senior classes is not only amazing but inspiring. As is the Making Waves tradition, I look forward to seeing this senior class not only find success in college and the workforce, but also in the ways they will “recycle their success” in their respective communities in the near future.”

MWA is a tuition-free public charter school that creates a pathway for students to gain acceptance to and graduate from college and ultimately become valuable contributors to the workforce and their communities. Its comprehensive, holistic approach focuses on social-emotional development and individualized coaching through tutoring, mental health support, and more, while providing state-of-the- art facilities to further cultivate an active, engaged student community.

For more information about Making Waves Academy, please visit www.makingwavesacademy.org.