Oh, what a Night!
An Unforgettable Evening of Recognition and Celebration
On April 4th, EXP welcomed more than 646 industry professionals, educators, parents and students to an evening of inspiration, recognition and achievement during our 19th Annual Oceans of Opportunity Dinner & Scholarship Celebration. Event festivities took place at The Carson Center in Carson, CA.
This year, we awarded scholarships to 29 high school students. We also gave a special tribute to EXP Alumnus Victor Ibarra, who received the 2019 Rising Star Alumni Award. Another special tribute went to Carson High School ESET Pathway Student Victor Mendez, who received the prestigious Carol Rowen 180 Degree Award and captured hearts as he shared his personal journey of overcoming tremendous challenges as a young immigrant.
Community partnership award recipients included Yusen Logistics as this year’s Keeper of the Flame honoree; Lupe Franco of San Pedro High School as EXP’s Educator of the Year; and Jim Preusch of Alameda Corridor Transportation Authority (ACTA), who received the Bill Stein Memorial Leadership Award.
The evening kicked off with a reception featuring talented students from 16 EXP career pathways at 9 Southern California high schools. They competed for attendee votes in a high energy pitch contest, showcasing their career-ready skills and creativity. Contest winners were San Pedro High School’s Global Environmental Academy, Phineas Banning High School’s International Trade Academy, and Narbonne High School’s Business Entrepreneurship Technology Academy.
Gardena High School’s Global Business Magnet served as the Host Academy for this year’s event. As part of the celebration, Gardena High School’s drumline and Pantherette Dance Team gave a spirited performance and led attendees to the ballroom for an award-packed dinner program and a special welcome by City of Carson Mayor Albert Robles.
Comments received from the cross-section of attendees gave testament to the event’s energy:
“This was my second year attending [the event] and by far my favorite,” said Emily E., a senior at Phineas Banning High School, where she is enrolled in the school’s International Trade Academy. “EXP has impacted me in many ways and given me the confidence and push I needed to explore the world and work force. I now know that I can start from anywhere I am in life and keep going despite obstacles.”
“What a beautiful and moving event…,” commented EXP supporter Robyn Peacock. “I am so grateful to be included and to be surrounded by such positive, caring, smart and organized people.”
Proceeds from the event benefit EXP’s life changing programs to help young people gain experience, unlock doors and build the confidence they need to succeed in school, career and life. Donations to the evening’s Call-to-Action appeal help ensure EXP has the funding it needs so that all students participating in The EXP Internship Program: Powered by Prologis can receive internship placement this summer.
“Every young student deserves a chance to realize their personal potential and a meaningful career path that allows them to thrive,” said Amy Grat, chief executive officer, EXP. “At EXP, we are committed to connecting young people with industry and community mentors who can help open doors to their future.”
“We are so grateful to everyone who helped make our 19th Annual Oceans of Opportunity Dinner & Scholarship Celebration such a success, including all of our industry sponsors, donors, schools, career pathways and community leaders. Also, a big thank you to our event emcee Viviana Vigil, co-emcee Fernando Fernandez, Phineas Banning High School’s MATCH Academy, the GSS Team, Choura, and this year’s host academy - Gardena High School’s Global Business Magnet!”
If you were unable to attend, we hope you will join us at our 20th annual dinner! If you wish to make a donation to EXP in honor of the celebration or a loved one, click on the donate button below.