We are thrilled to be congratulating our class of 2014 STEAM graduates!
In conjunction with partner CAA Foundation, the STEAM program aims to supply students with learning tools for a future in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics. High school students from the nonprofit organizations, Fulfillment Fund and Communities in School Los Angeles, participate annually, working to learn new skills. “Our program this year was made up of Artists and Professionals, aspiring to be educators, driven to fill afternoons with inspiring STEAM learning experiences,” said Ivan Bermudez, IT executive at CAA.
“With our backgrounds in Technology, Ivan and I have primarily focused on different themes within Technology in previous years,” says Stephanie Le, Director of Operations at Crescent Solutions. “This year, we wanted to integrate the separate STEAM subjects and show the students how they are related and what kind of social impact it makes. We’ve really emphasized the effect of social media on career paths and how that relates directly back to them. I think the students’ interaction with the program is more defined this year as a direct result of the change in curriculum,” says Le. “ We owe it all to our speakers, who are involved in careers and projects that directly reflect what we are trying to expose our students to.”
A great example of some of the amazing speakers students were exposed to this year is artist Lucas Raynaud. “He brought his street art into the classroom. He has a project where he drops off his art in the streets and instagrams a picture of it,” shares Le. “The first person to find the art gets to keep it. He uses social media to showcase his art, market his work, build a fan base, and interact directly with them.”
Bermudez pointed out another new addition to the STEAM program. “We did something really cool this year,” said Ivan, “we innovated.” “We now have students growing up with our program and because of this, we wanted to encourage college access.” With the help of CAA’s CIO Michael Keithley, the Future Innovator Award was created. This is to be awarded annually in recognition of standout STEAM students with deep participation in programming. “The students were granted a venue to thank our main sponsors in CAA IT full staff meetings,” continued Bermudez. “It was very emotional.” The 2014 inaugural award candidates were Lauren Foster and Oscar Parra at Venice High School, “awarded for their outstanding contribution and engagement to our CAA IT STEAM programming over the last two years,” adds Bermudez proudly. They each received a $500 College ready starter kit which includes materials students need to kick off their college experience.
Receiving their accolades May 14th, students were serenaded by a professional singer, collaborated and recorded a song with experienced producers, and offered internships at Crown City Studios. Intertwined with all of the fun, guest speakers provided their own brand of wisdom to the graduates – each inspiring them to push forward with their future in Tech, and reminding them that the sky is the limit.
Bermudez and Le kicked off the graduation ceremony. After the opening introductions, graduating Senior and STEAM graduate Lauren Foster, spoke to her fellow students about her journey through the STEAM program, encouraging everyone to really sop up all of the knowledge and utilize the relationships and resources provided.
Following her poignant speech, Sam Sparro debuted one of his music videos, then provided laughs and insight while opening himself up to a personal Q&A session with the students. He candidly shared his life sessions and personal accounts of success, and once questions subsided, serenaded the teens with one of his hit songs.
Eric Lilavois, owner of Crown City Studios, and Joseph Olender, audio engineer at Crown City Studios, followed Sam’s presentation. Keeping the graduates in the spirit of music, they spoke about the tech aspects they deal with on a daily basis. Whether digitally creating beats or playing instruments via music software, technology is very much a part of the fabric of modern music. While explaining the marriage of tech and music, they allowed students to come down to sing, clap, and create a song together that was set to music and recorded. “It was incredibly inspiring to see the next generation so eager to create using technology as their canvas,” said Olender. “Ya I was overwhelmed and impressed by the enthusiasm and energy of not only these amazing kids, but the volunteers, staff and support that surrounds them,” adds Lilavois.
Full of gratitude, Bermudez reflects back on the year that has just come to an end. “I am overwhelmed by what a success this program has made in such a short time and for the support we received from the professional community. It was the perfect formula for students to discover and achieve their dreams by connecting students who want to learn with adults who have something to teach.”
Here’s to a fantastic year and many more to come.
Congratulations to the STEAM Class of 2014!