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In the News

School News


Congratulations to Matthew Hardison for being the king of the day.  Matthew has made great strides in academics and great improvement in citizenship.  Today, Matthew is joined by first-timer, Jodey Figueroa and returners, Mycah Patterson, Gilbert Ortiz and  Andres Flores.  Good job Matthew!


On Thursday, February 15, 2018, the BAL Academy was invited to screen the documentary hip-hop film, Death of the Fifth Element.  The film argues about the state of hip-hop today with its beginning as a tool for social justice and social issues of the time.  After popcorn and the movie, the boys met with the film director, Moe Reed.  Meeting the filmmaker, the boys recited Invictus to show their appreciation.

Although there were other middle schools present, the BAL boys represented our school well.  After the other schools departed, our boys stayed to make sure that we left the theatre as close to cleanliness as possible.


During Ms. Matsui's 7th period, her Creative Expression class engages in relevant and meaningful communities issues.  One of the issues that the 6th grade boys tackled was the #blacklivesmatter movement and its relevance to the Westmont community of South Los Angeles.  In honor of the killing of unarmed Anthony Weber, Ms. Matsui's boys create a poster exhibit to call attention to the matter.  Her boys lament that Anthony could have been their friend and that he could have been Ms. Matsui's student.  As a part of the ongoing discussion on the #blacklivesmatter movement, Ms. Matsui also invited Mr. Terrence McCrea, the author of "What Should We All Do After the Trayvon Martin Trial" as a guest speaker in her class.  For more information on the Anthony Weber case, please see


Parent, Mr. Brian Davis, assists in helping the boys put up their exhibit.




He wasn't expecting it.  In fact, he was pointing at one of his house brothers to be announced as the King of the Day.  When his name, "Devon Thomas!" was called, he was shocked and was surprised to have his name called to the stage.  Congratulations to Devon Thomas for being recognized as King of the Day for the Week of February 5, 2018.


Joining him on stage for the first time, Jared McClaren, Diego Mendez Virgen and second timers, Robert Fuller and Mylez McCall.



Boys Academy sixth-grader Antwone Usher explains to Wes Hall and fellow students why it’s important always to have an ink pen in hand and ready.


Young Men of Color conference encourages students on road to success



More than 100 students from nearly two dozen schools came together Saturday as part of the fifth annual Young Men of Color conference – an event designed to inspire excellence and spur educational empowerment.


“These young men are here because we need to celebrate all young men of color,” said Dr. Brenda Manuel, administrator of the District’s Student Unit and a principal organizer of the conference. “We have brought a lot of people together – mentors, leaders, police officers and people in the community – to help these young men understand how talented they are and the true potential they have.”


Manuel co-founded The Village Movement, a school-based mentorship program that is linked to the annual conference, with Wes Hall, an educational consultant and CEO of the Institute for Student Empowerment.


Board Vice President Nick Melvoin reminds students that every-day actions like putting on a tie, shaking hands and making a bed are important steps on the road to leadership.


“When you live in America, you may see the American Dream and want the American Dream, but you may not have the tools and guidance you need to get there,” Hall said. “These young men are brilliant young men. With the right guidance, they will turn from being ‘at-risk’ youth into ‘at-promise’ youth.”


Hall served as the emcee for the day’s main events, which included words of inspiration from School Board Vice President Nick Melvoin and other leaders.


“The first and often overlooked step in being a leader is showing up, and these students are all here on a Saturday morning when they don’t have to be,” Melvoin said. “We are here to honor these young men and help them understand that it is the little things – like tying a necktie, shaking a hand and making their beds in the morning – that are the first and most significant steps on the road to leadership.”


Los Angeles School Police Chief Steve Zipperman and a dozen members of his department were also on hand to provide support.

“These students made a conscientious choice to be here, because they have a vision for what they want their lives to be,” Zipperman said. “We are here to help them bring that vision to life. We want them to know they matter. Today they are going to hear new ideas and receive inspiration and guidance from a variety of mentors who will help keep them moving in the right direction.”


Taking initiative one step at a time was a theme that ran through the day’s activities.


“We are here to help you, but we are asking you to meet us halfway,” Hall told the students.


Hall asked each of the students who were holding a pen to raise them high in the air.


Among the couple dozen students to hold their pens aloft was Antwone Usher, a sixth-grader from the Boys Academic Leadership Academy. Hall invited the youth onstage to explain why he was taking notes about the conference.


Gardena High junior Christian Thurman talks proudly with Wes Hall about his career plans before 100 of his peers.


You should have your pen in your hand when someone is trying to tell you something important that will affect your future,” Usher said. “It’s up to you if you are going to follow their advice and do what you need to do.”


The keynote address was delivered by Ronald Reeves, head of global learning and development for the American International Group Inc. He shared his story of becoming a journalist and encouraged his audience to ask questions everywhere they go.


“Ask every person you meet to tell you about his life journey and his career journey,” he said. “They will always be happy to tell you their stories, and you will be amazed at what you learn, and it will help you focus. If you start practicing now on focusing, then you will have a sharper focus in your college years and even sharper during your career.”


Participants also attended breakout sessions with topics that included networking, financial management and using science and math to spark creativity. Enroute to the workshops, students reflected on messages they heard during the morning session.


“The board member said that the first step in becoming a leader is showing up,” said Gardena High junior Christian Thurman. “That’s why we’re here. We are here because we are showing dedication. A lot of kids from our school were supposed to come. Not everyone showed up, but we did.”


Gardena High students, from left, Christian Thurman, Derion Bruton and Arroyo Cortes say they chose to attend the Young Men of Color conference to show dedication and to seek guidance in becoming strong leaders.


“These people are here because they know we can do well in school and that we can go a long way in life,” he said. “We can make a change. We can take what we learn today and take it back to our school and help make it a better place.”


Manuel said that the conference and the associated Village Movement are not just about supporting students who are at risk.


“So many of these students are already showing signs of true leaders,” she said. “With our help, they can become role models for their peers and plant the seeds for new generations of leaders in their schools and their communities.”


For original article on, click here.


In a battle for grade level pride, Oscar Mata Martinez (7th Grader, Tyson House) and Jayden Epps (6th Grader, Ali House) represent their classes in a lunchtime battle... over checkers!


With a tub of board games, the two honor students Jayden and Oscar traded moves and strategized on who would be victorious.


The first checker battle goes to...


Jayden Epps!


...representing 6th Grade!





On a crisp cool windy day, student run up and down the field to fly their kites.  With their kite on tow and a spool of string in their hand, the students let their kites fly higher and higher.

The boys take the field in a STEAM way, kite flying.

Excited, Darius runs the yard with his newly built kite.

While Washington Prep physical education looks on, our students run across the field to fly their kites.

Eric Brown releases a spool of thread to fly his kite higher.

With assistance from Ms. Matsui, Mylez launches his kite.

Even with his leg healing, Tyree runs his kite.  After a lap around the field, he is tired!

Poof jacket and all, Antwonesoars his kite high!

Ms. Green gets into the action and helps a student launch his kite.


Thank you to our various sponsors for supporting our school.  Please support our boys by visiting our sponsors.  Special thank you to Mr. Galindo from Shakeys and Ms. Genesis from Yogurtland for supporting our boys with incentives.

Shakey's Pizza Parlor



On Friday, January 19, 2018, the BAL Academy looked back at the inaugural Fall 2017 semester.  We looked back at memories of Summer Bridge, events in the Fall semester and celebrated memories of brotherhood.  On to the next level!


What a moment!  The Fall 2017 BAL Academy Awards were held on Friday, January 19, 2018 at the Washington Preparatory High School Theatre.  The day began with introductions and libations from our principal Mr. Moorer.  Mr. Angulo reminded our students of the Big 5 School Rules.  The student body received a quick lesson on what it means to be a good audience member.

The awards began with the Citizenship Honors Awards won by an elite group of 9 students.  This award was awarded to students with a 2.0 and above, no Ds/Fs and received all Es in Cooperation and Work Habits!  For a list of Awardees, please click here!

The awards ceremony then continued with the Bronze Honor Roll for students who received a grade point average of 3.000 to 3.666, no Ds or Fails, and no more than 2 Us in Work Habits and Cooperation.  An impressive group of 30 students received this honor.  For a list of Awardees, please click here!

Next, 15 students received the Silver Honor Roll for students who received a grade point average of 3.667 to 3.999, no Ds or Fails, and no more than 2 Us in Work Habits and Cooperation.  For a list of Awardees, please click here!

Last but not least, an elite group of 7 students received the Golden Honor Roll Award for attaining an impressive 4.000 grade point average (all As in all classes), and no more than 2 Us in Work Habits and Cooperation.  For a list of Awardees, please click here!


We ended off our assembly with our leading House of the Week, King of the Day ceremony and Invictus led by by Robert Fuller. For a listing of Kings of the Day, please click here.


Robert Fuller is a 6th grade middle school honor student at the Boys Academic Leadership Academy.  In the Fall 2017 semester, Robert earned a proud grade point average of 3.857 with 6 As in his courses and all Es in Work Habits and Cooperation.  Robert enjoys building robots, constructing with legos, reading and playing video games with friends in his neighborhood.  Robert's favorite subject is Math and Science.  Although he has not decided which colleges he might want to apply to, Robert wants to become an engineer.


Look out future engineers, here comes Robert!


For more information information on student in the Student Honor Roll, click here.  PRIDE is our schoolwide academic expectation for all students.  PRIDE stands for precision of expression, relevance, innovation, democracy and evidence.


On a rainy California Monday, the BAL Academy kicked off the Spring 2018 semester with an Assembly at the Washington Prep Academy School Theatre. 


Congratulations to the following students for receiving the perfect attendance award for the Fall 2017 semester.

  • Isaiah Duncan
  • Noah Evans
  • Darius Lucas
  • Jeremiah Smith
  • Nicholas Washington
  • Ze'Rion Rivera
  • James Clough
  • Alonzo Kelley
  • Darion Lucas
  • Haleni Sitani
  • Patrick Torreblanca
  • Grant Brown
  • JullenDavis
  • Jerald Robertson
  • Devon Thomas
  • Rommell Hamilton
  • Ashton Harvey
  • Diego Mendez Virgen
  • Nathaniel Evans
  • Robert Haskin
  • Cedric Marshall
  • Gilbert Ortiz

For more information on student accolades, click here.