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About South El Monte High School

An American bald eagle looks over the South El Monte High School quad, eyes never wavering from its’ protective gaze. Students crisscross the grass heading to their next class while the sound of the 60 freeway lingers over voices and dashing bodies.

The school founded in 1992 is the newest high school in the El Monte Union High School District. An important asset for a city with 30 percent of its population under 18, the school serves almost 1500 students. Similar to its namesake school, the city of South El Monte is relatively young, incorporated in 1958, it’s a primarily Latino working class community, with a total area of 2.8 square miles, 1/3 of it encompassed by industrial businesses.

The school is sandwiched between these industrial businesses and the Whittier Narrows Nature Preserve, creating an interesting environmental dichotomy for the students on their daily routine of walking to and from school, driving to work or simply opening their front door.

It's within this complex landscape that Youth Voices will be collaborating with juniors from the AVID program on the newest Departures installment -- El Monte / South El Monte. Students will be taking a close look at their young city's history, geography, people, and future. Along the way they will have an opportunity to become advocates for their community and lead efforts to promote positive change.