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Celebrating the City Year LA AmeriCorps Class of 2021

Earlier this month we graduated our 2020-21 AmeriCorps class, marking the end of our 14th year of service in Los Angeles.  

This year’s corps stepped up for their students like never before. Together, they served 300,000+ hours in virtual classrooms, helping close the learning gap presented by the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuring that thousands of students’ social emotional needs were met just as much as their academic ones. The impact that this group of individuals have created for their students will surely ripple on for years to come. 

Our graduation celebration was emceed by AmeriCorps members Aysia-Marie Perkins from our team at Hollenbeck Middle School and Andres Gutierrez, who served on our team at Belmont High School 

During the event, Tai Daniels, who served as a project leader on our Civic Engagement teamgave the AmeriCorps member keynote address, and Esmeralda Balvaneda Ponce, who served at Flournoy Elementary School, presented special corps member remarksHear from these two exemplary individuals about their time with City Year Los Angeles here 


Those in attendance also heard from City Year LA Board Co-Chair Mattie McFadden-Lawson, Community School Coordinator at 93rd Street Elementary School Ingrid Villeda,  and our special guest, actor and comedian Kenan Thompson. 

This year’s awards were presented by Michelle Ferrari, our Director of AmeriCorps Member Experience, City Year LA Co-Founder and Chair Emeritus Andrew Hauptman, Head of Casting for NBC Universal and City Lear L.A. Board Member Grace Wu and the Vice President of Corporate Responsibility at Sony Pictures Entertainment Lani Manos. Check out the complete list of winners below:  


Jordan Cruz 

City Year LA AmeriCorps Member, NOW Academy  

Ariana Fisher 

City Year LA AmeriCorps Member, Markham Middle School 

Nicole Keyllian 

City Year LA AmeriCorps Member, Bethune Middle School 

Josh Polanco 

City Year LA AmeriCorps Member, 122nd Street Elementary School 

Valerie Nicole Villafana 

City Year LA AmeriCorps Member, Florence Griffith Joyner Elementary School 


Caleb Codding 

City Year LA AmeriCorps Member, Menlo Ave. Elementary School 


John H. Leichty Elementary School 


Jacqueline Guzman 

City Year LA AmeriCorps Member, Nava College Preparatory  


Melanie Corral 

City Year LA AmeriCorps Member, Bethune Middle School 

Dinah Muhammad 

City Year LA AmeriCorps Member, Florence Griffith Joyner Elementary School 

Claudia Hernandez 

City Year LA AmeriCorps Member, Jordan High School 

Irene Romero 

City Year LA AmeriCorps Member, Belmont High School 

Diana Correa 

City Year LA AmeriCorps Member, Stevenson Middle School 

Shantel Green 

City Year LA AmeriCorps Member, Civic Engagement Team 

Congratulations to our winners and the entire City Year Los Angeles AmeriCorps Class of 2021. Your tenacity and dedication to serving your students won’t soon be forgotten. 

Couldn’t make it to the event? Watch the full program here. 

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