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Diplomas Click When CA Students Shoot Photos

June 16, 2008

Point, click and graduate. Working on photos with National Geographic helped a group of California teens get their diplomas over the weekend - a group that, at one time, didn't look as though they would make it to graduation day because they either dropped out, or were kicked out, of school. The students attended the EcoAcademy charter school, where they planted flowers, pulled weeds, and researched environmental issues along with reading, writing, and math.

EcoAcademy Senior Education Manager Laura Grenholm says working with an organization as prestigious as National Geographic, as well as the school's other partners - which include the National Park Service and the U.S. Forest Service - has made a lasting impression on the students.

"Those opportunities are really the key links to keeping kids excited about school, and also keeping them on the forefront of environmental activism and participation in their own communities."

Grenholm says many students want to continue working in the environmental field after graduation.

"While they are learning in the classroom - and outside of the classroom, of course - the biggest goal is that they take this with them after they graduate."

This is the sixth year for EcoAcademy, a public charter high school dedicated to serving at-risk youth. It's a program of the L.A. Conservation Corps, a private nonprofit youth and workforce development organization in Los Angeles.

Overall, nearly 130 students graduated from the Los Angeles Education Corps; 24 were EcoAcademy graduates. Grenholm reports about two-thirds are planning to go on to college. More information about the program can be found online, at

Lori Abbott/Craig Eicher, Public News Service - CA