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Azucena Prestegui

Azucena Prestegui My name is Azucena and I graduated from Lennox Academy in 2009. I then went to UCLA where I got a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science with a focus on International Relations as well as two minors, one in African and Middle Eastern Studies and the other in Anthropology. I was a math and reading tutor during my time at UCLA and after I graduated I stayed in the education field and I got a Teacher’s Assistant position here at the Academy in the Math Department. Besides being a TA I also have a substitute teacher’s credential which allows me to sub in the classroom, and have also helped the Academy’s effort to help students earn their credits through credit recovery, both during the school year and in summer school. One of my future plans is to go back to school and earn my Master’s degree in a field that interests me. For now, I am greatly enjoying my time working with both students and teachers in the classroom and outside it.

Ruth Duarte

I graduated from UC Riverside in 2013 with a B.S. in Anthropology and a minor in Music.
I am currently the TA for the Spanish and History departments.
I interned at the San Bernardino County Museum in 2012 and interned at Cogstone Resource Management Co. from 2012-2013. I went on excavation with the company manager and got a hands-on experience in archaeology.
I plan to go to grad school where I will earn my Master’s degree in Anthropology and hopefully be a professor of the field. I also hope to continue research in various cities or countries.
My favorite high school memory was when I won the AVID Write-Off as a Sophomore in LA county. I won 1st place among many other high school in the county.
One thing that I learned from LMSTA is that “familia” is always there no matter what, but you need the “ganas” to accomplish the things that you want to do and then express the “orgullo” in what you have accomplished.
I chose to come back to LMSTA because I needed a job but also to give back to the community that I once and will always be a part of. I also wanted to gain experience in the field of education and this gave me time to figure out where I was headed in my career.
In my spare time I like to read, play music, go hiking, camping, and during the winter season I love to go snowboarding. I enjoy to travel and if I could go anywhere in the world, at this moment, it would be Fiji. That is on my bucket-list.

Vanessa Estrada

Education: Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering – Loyola Marymount University

Current Position: Project Engineer at Sully-Miller Contracting Company

Accomplishments since High School:
Obtained a Bachelor of Science Degree in Civil Engineering
Obtained an Engineer-In- Training Certification

Future Plans:
Prepare for and pass the Principles and Practice of Engineering exam to become a licensed Professional Engineer.
Obtain a Master’s Degree in Business Administration

Favorite High School Memory:
My favorite high school memory was when I had the opportunity to travel to Europe with a few of my classmates.

One thing you learned from Lennox Academy that has helped you through the years:
One thing I learned from Lennox Academy that has helped me through the years is the importance of an education. An education turns your dreams into a reality.

Marlene Sanchez Torres

Marlene received her Bachelors of Arts in Urban Studies, at the University of California, Irvine. Coming from a multi-disciplinary background, and focus on community collaboration has led her to a number of volunteer opportunities and community leadership roles.  Even after graduation, Ms. Sanchez continued to intern for the City of Inglewood’s Planning Division where she assisted the Senior Planner with the revision to the City of Inglewood’s Housing Element. 

Ms. Sanchez is now the senior Outreach Coordinator for the Housing Rights Center (HRC), the nation’s largest non-profit organization dedicated to securing and promoting the right to equal access in housing through civil rights, advocacy efforts in the Los Angeles and Ventura Counties. Ms. Sanchez will begin her Master of Social Work, August 2015, with a concentration in Community Organization, and Business Innovation at the University of Southern California. With in the next year, Ms. Sanchez looks forward to applying to the Sol Price School of Public Policy at USC to be considered as a dual-master program candidate.

Samuel Almaraz

“Graduated from Lennox Academy in 2008. His most memorable time in high school included being part of the ACE Program, Outdoor Club, AP Physics, and meeting his now wife, Gabriela Barron.His biggest challenge in high school was the birth of his first child, Valerie. With the assistance, motivation, and support from many Lennox Academy staff and wife, he earned his High School Diploma. In 2013, he graduated from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo with a BS in Construction Management. In college he was involved in multiple organizations that contributed to his success including Gamma Zeta Alpha, Fraternity Inc., National Electrical Contractors Association – Student Chapter (President for 2 years), Associated Students of Construction Management, ARMY R.O.T.C., National Association of Home Builders, and the Electrical Team for the Associated School of Construction (ASC) Student Competition. His most memorable college experience was the Costa Rica Senior Project he worked on to provide power via a Photovoltaic System to a rural school in Costa Rica. The last two years at Cal Poly he was the Teacher Assistant for the Specialty Lab, teaching Electrical components to Sophomores. He returned to Los Angeles to work for Clark Construction, a reputable General Contractor who mentored him as he participated in the ACE Program. Mr. Almaraz is now a Project Engineer at the LAX TBIT Renovations, Aprons and Concourse Demolition Project. Some of his professional achievements include receiving certifications such as LEED Green Associate, Safety Trained Supervisor (STS), Construction Health and Safety Technician (CHST), Qualified SWPPP Practitioner (QSP), and Certified Inspector of Sediment & Erosion Control (CISEC). His future plans include becoming a Construction Executive for Clark Construction, starting a construction company, and assisting community programs to better and make Lennox a safer, reputable place with successful youth. Lennox Academy taught him time management and organization skills; skills that he uses on a day by day basis. Now with two children (Valerie, 8 & Sam III, 2), he manages his time at work, at home, and volunteering in various organizations including Baja Challenge, ACE Program, and most importantly serving as a Lennox Academy Board Member.”

Isaura Ramirez

Growing up in inner-city LA, and daughter of Mexican immigrants, education was and will continue to be my most precious possession and value. When searching for high schools that would prepare me for college and align with my parents’ and my vision in education, it was empowering to find a high school that valued family, orgullo, and ganas as their prime values. I felt a sense of community, encouragement, and most importantly, found mentors that wholeheartedly believed in my potential. Reminiscing on my high school experience, I enjoyed participating in sports, and collaborating with my fellow classmates in accomplishing the most important attribute within any sport, sports[wo]manship. As some can remember, the girls basketball team in 2009 did not win many games, but we celebrated each other’s ganas and positive attitude before and after a game. Academically, I enjoyed the rigor and culture of high expectations. I met incredible, genuine, golden individuals that I will for always call friends. When I think of inner-city education, I often think back to my experiences within Lennox Academy, and how I felt within the school. In a nutshell, I felt a sense of pride in the work I created, and a deeper connection with my community and roots. Now, as an educator, I’ve tried replicating these feelings that emerge from living ‘through’ and ‘with’ the values of familia, ganas, orgullo (and I’ve added one of my own, hope) within my classroom. In fact, the sense of classroom community is the driving force of my instruction. In this manner, my educational experience within the Lennox School District will for always serve as the prime lenses for which I’ve chosen to view inner city education. Lenses which have been informed by multiple experiences after my departure from Lennox grounds. After graduating Lennox Academy in 2009, four years later, I graduated from UCLA with a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology with a Double Minor in Education Studies and Political Science, and became the first in my family to graduate college. Thereafter, I was accepted into Teach For America and served as a Corps member in Detroit. While teaching in Detroit, and completing my M.A. in Education Studies from the University of Michigan, Rackham School of Education, I became a mother to a beautiful, now 2 year old boy. Seeking to raise my son near his cultura, family, and abuelitos, my spouse and I decided to move back to LA, where I helped found a KIPP school in Watts alongside a group of inspiring educators. Recently, my spouse and I became homeowners and decided to move inland, where I found my new school ‘community’ in the San Bernardino School District. Now, I am a mother, advocate, teacher leader, mentor to students within communities that remind me of my own, and in the future, I foresee adding a couple of letters after my name…”EdD.” I am eternally grateful to Lennox Academy and the people who make the school’s vision a reality, from the secretaries to the parent volunteer, teachers, Admin, Board Members, etc. Lennox Academy helped me build the foundation I needed to guide my personal vision of success and it will continue to serve as a grounding force through my professional journey in academia; professional journey I’ve chosen to continue uplifting nuestra gente, and community.

Luis Hernandez


I graduated from the Academy in 2009. I then went on to study at UCLA where I earned my Bachelor of Arts degree in International Development Studies and graduated in 2013. I worked in accounting discipline for 3 years prior to becoming a peace officer in the state of California. I began the LA County Sheriff’s Academy in 06/02/16 and graduated on 11/4/16, 22 weeks later. I am currently a Los Angeles County Sheriff Deputy and plan to work gangs as a Detective, get my Master’s degree, and make a difference in someone’s life.

My favorite high school memory was working the student store where I had great fun times with my peers! I learned a lot from Lennox Academy. Most importantly, to always aim high… work hard. And that F=MA (Rivas).