Senator Wright Honors Hundreds of Students in 25th Senate District

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Senator Roderick D. Wright

Senator Roderick D. Wright (D-25) hosted the 25th Senate District Student Honors Recognition Luncheon on Saturday, May 22nd at the Hyatt Regency Long Beach Hotel.

To hear a local mayor sum it up, the ballroom at Long Beach’s Hyatt Regency saw something unique this past weekend, as hundreds of students from across the region came together for the first 25th Senate District Student Honors Recognition Luncheon hosted by a local State Senator whose district winds through some of the richest and poorest areas in the state.

“We’re celebrating great kids who are working hard and deserve to know that others believe in them,” said Wright, whose 25th Senate District stretches from Inglewood to Long Beach and the Palos Verdes Peninsula.

Wright began the tradition when he was a member of the State Assembly between 1996 and 2002.  He has now resumed the Student Honors Recognition Luncheon as a State Senator in the 25th District.

The inaugural event hosted over 500 attendees and each student took home a backpack filled with items donated from a host of community organizations.

“We owe this event to Senator Wright,” said William Allen Young, acclaimed actor and founder of the Youth Center for Academic & Cultural Enrichment,” who said “there ought to be a day and time to recognize these amazing students.” Young, served as MC for the event, and was moved when he accepted a gift from Wright memorializing longtime educator and good friend, Howard Ransom, a teacher in South Los Angeles who passed away earlier this year.

“I can’t recall anything like this creative, innovative event during my time on council,” said Rolling Hills Estates Mayor John C. Addleman, who was among 30 leading local figures who each participated in recognizing the students at the honors luncheon.

“Education is the one gift no one can take away from you,” said Assemblyman Hector de la Torre, who represents the 50th Assembly District.

Community leaders participating at the luncheon included state Assemblymembers Warren Furutani, Mike Davis and Steven Bradford; newly-elected Long Beach Councilman Steven Neal; Ann Marie Garten, from El Camino College; David Gamboa, from CSU Dominguez Hills; USC and NFL football star Sam “Bam” Cunningham; and radio personality Bigg P-wee from 102.3 KJLH, among others.

“We want these kids to know that they can do anything,” said Wright.

Fifty essay contest participants won prizes and 7 finalists were awarded $500 scholarships, each for their entries in the “What Makers Our Community Special” essay contest.  The winning finalists were Essie Bonney (Westport Heights Elementary), Zoe Pamonag (Rosecrans Elementary), Esmeralda Salas (William Green Elementary), Yasmeen Azam (Jane Addams Middle School), Jazmin Guardado (Richard Henry Dana Middle School), Aaron Colston (Junipero Serra High School), and Sovanarin Lee (David Star Jordan High School).

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