Making Waves Academy students at graduation
Making Waves Academy graduates celebrating at the graduation ceremony. Pictured left to right: Anthony Guzman, Raul Valencia, Cristian Caballero, Abel Duenas III, and Jesus Hidalgo.
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Making Waves Academy Celebrates Graduates, Making Waves Foundation Grants Scholarships

by Bonnie Shea

Making Waves Foundation » News Stories » Making Waves Academy Celebrates Graduates, Making Waves Foundation Grants Scholarships

Wave-Makers embrace recycling their success through multiple college and career pathways

Making Waves Academy celebrated its more than 75 graduating students and their families on June 14, 2022, at Craneway Pavilion in Richmond, California. This year, 95% of Making Waves Academy seniors – known as the ‘19th Wave’ – are on track to graduate, either having graduated this June or completing final graduation requirements this summer.

“We are proud of the Class of 2022 and of all they have accomplished. Our graduates have persevered through a few particularly challenging years to reach this milestone – including a return to in-person learning after an 18 month pause,” shared Alton B. Nelson, Jr., CEO of Making Waves Academy, which was recently recognized by U.S. News as among the top 4.5% of high schools in the U.S.

Honors and awards

This year’s Making Waves Academy valedictorians are Lizbeth Ibarra, who plans to attend Harvard University, Alexander Reyes, who plans to attend the University of California, San Diego, and Jaquelin Trujillo, who plans to attend UCLA. The salutatorians are Alexis Ledesma, who plans to attend the University of California, Davis, and Elena Ybarra, who plans to attend UCLA.

Ibarra spoke at the ceremony as both student body president and a valedictorian. “Know that you are loved, you are celebrated, and you are going to change the world,” Ibarra shared with the class as a part of her remarks.

Reyes, Trujillo, and Ybarra also provided remarks, and Karen Reyes-Avalos, the senior committee president, led the graduating class – known as the 19th Wave – in a reading of the Wave-Maker Affirmation.

“I am a powerful person. I am strong, smart, generous, and caring. Success is achieved through hard work and perseverance. I am willing. I am a Wave-Maker!”

Excerpt from the Wave-Maker Affirmation
Making Waves Academy students at decision day
Jaquelin Trujillo (left) and Lizbeth Ibarra (right) celebrating their decisions to attend UCLA and Harvard respectively.

A continuum of pathways, and scholarships for college

Each year, Making Waves Academy ensures that 100% of its graduates meet the “a-g” requirements for admission to University of California and California State University campuses. At a recent decision day event, graduates shared a range of post-secondary plans with the majority planning to attend four-year colleges or universities or two-year community colleges.

Through Making Waves Foundation’s college success program, known as the College and Alumni Program, Making Waves Academy graduates have the unique opportunity to receive scholarships, one-to-one coaching, financial literacy services and more to support them on their path to graduating college as quickly and with as little debt as possible. The majority of Making Waves Academy graduates are entering into this program.

“Making Waves believes all students should have access to an excellent education, the agency to pursue their life dreams, and the support to help them succeed,” shared Patrick O’Donnell, CEO of Making Waves Foundation.

“We’re so proud of Making Waves Academy’s Class of 2022 and we’re thrilled to welcome college-bound Wave-Makers into our college success program, which provides academic, career, financial, and wellness support based on students’ unique identities, interests, and aspirations,” O’Donnell shared.

Making Waves Academy students at graduation
Pictured left to right: Kevin Mata, Diego Contreras, David Yokota, Bryan Largaspada, and Hector Ortega.

Making Waves Academy graduates also earned scholarships from other organizations such as Richmond Promise, the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, and Microsoft. In addition to college, several students are planning to start job programs, trade or apprenticeship programs, and other career paths.

“While we emphasize preparing all students for college, we are committed to helping students in reaching their college, career, and life dreams by supporting a continuum of post-secondary pathways,” Nelson shared.

A community effort

In addition to congratulating the students and families, Nelson thanked Making Waves Academy’s founders, supporters, board of directors, and staff members, with a special expression of gratitude to teachers.

“Without your dedication, commitment and support, there would have been no school year,” he shared at the ceremony. “Making Waves Academy is a community with a focus of educating our Wave-Makers and helping them on their road to pursuing the dreams they have for themselves.”

Making Waves Academy alumni celebrating graduations

This year, more than 30 Making Waves Academy alumni celebrated graduations from universities such as Sonoma State University, the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of California, Merced.

Making Waves Academy Graduation Photos
Making Waves Academy students at graduation
ABOUT MAKING WAVES ACADEMY

Making Waves Academy is a public charter school committed to rigorously and holistically preparing students in grades 5-12 from Richmond, California, and the surrounding areas for college, career, and life success. The school’s enrollment stands at more than 1,100 students and 100% of its graduates meet the “a-g” requirements for admission to University of California and California State University campuses.

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