Boyle Heights Beat published its first edition in 2012, bringing together youth reporters from high schools throughout the community. It was an exciting time. Many people in schools and the community contributed ideas about the Beat. Our first team of youth reporters played the key role — naming the newspaper, shaping its identity and filling it with the community’s stories.

This year, many reporters from our inaugural news team have graduated from college. Some are already pursuing advanced degrees or working; all have learned the value and importance of community. Some plan careers in journalism, while others tell us that the lessons learned at the Beat about original research, critical thinking, objectivity, leadership and giving back to the community have helped them in college and careers.

Here are profiles of this year’s college and graduate school graduates:

Brizette Castellanos

Theodore Roosevelt High School 2014

University of California, Berkeley 2018

Major: Political Science

Minor: Chicano/a Latino/a Studies

“One of the most remarkable thing I learned from the Boyle Heights Beat is that there

really is strength in numbers. We hold power as individuals, but that power is multiplied

when we come together. I hope to pursue a Juris Doctor degree and would like to work as an immigration or civil rights attorney.”

David Galindo

Francisco Bravo Medical Magnet 2014

University of Redlands 2018

Major: Computer Science

“Boyle Heights Beat helped me learn about my community and made me proud of who I am and where I come from. Two weeks before graduation, I got hired fulltime by a startup in El Segundo to develop mobile applications. I’m happy that I’m working now. It’s really going to allow me to help my parents.”

Lesly Juárez

Roosevelt High School Magnet 2014

Loyola Marymount University 2018

Major: Political Science

Minor: Classics and Archaeology

“Something that has resonated with me all through college was a quote from Ricky Romero, then a Toronto Blue Jays pitcher, whom I interviewed for the first story I did for the Boyle Heights Beat. He said, “I want people to know where I come from. I am not ashamed of it,” he told me. I’m currently working and studying for the LSAT. I intend to start law school in Fall 2019 with an interest in pursuing public interest law.”

Kevin Martinez

Roosevelt High School 2012

Westminster College 2016, BA Sociology

University of Utah 2018, MA Education

“I attribute all of my accomplishments to my experience as a youth reporter. It gave me the confidence to write about the issues that impact marginalized communities. In addition, it influenced my decision to major in sociology, because it sparked a passion in interrogating current systems of oppression.”

Melissa Martínez

Theodore Roosevelt High School 2014

Loyola Marymount University 2018

Major: English

“Boyle Heights Beat gave me the confidence to go out of my way to find out all the opportunities available to me that I didn’t initially know about. It influenced some of my major decisions like studying abroad. Boyle Heights Beat helped me learn about my community and it gave me a huge desire to get to know another part of the world.”

Dulce Morales

Francisco Bravo Medical Magnet 2014

Syracuse University 2018

Major: Policy Studies

“The community I built with Boyle Heights Beat was one of the anchors every time I came home. It taught me the value of human stories to the overall story. My next chapter, after a summer in LA, will be in Brooklyn as a middle school teacher, while pursuing my master of arts in teaching. I hope to continue working with communities in my new home, just as I did with Boyle Heights Beat.”Andrew Roman

Roosevelt High School Magnet 2012

University of California, Berkeley 2018

Major: Psychology

Magna Cum Laude

Phi Beta Kappa

“My success in college, I can honestly say, goes back to the Boyle Heights Beat, where I learned how to write critically and with facts, which stretched into my college essays and the way I regard the world now. I plan to go on to law school, and, thereafter, I plan to practice family and divorce law. Boyle Heights Beat taught me to push the envelope a little bit and jump into things even if you don’t have all the necessary knowledge to back you up. Part of the fun is learning on the way.”

The Beat needs community support to continue working with talented young people like these graduates. To support the Beat, go to https://boyleheightsbeat.com/how-to-support/ or contact us at editor@boyleheightsbeat.com.

Boyle Heights Beat

Boyle Heights Beat is a bilingual community newspaper produced by its youth "por y para la comunidad". The newspaper and its sister website serve an immigrant neighborhood in East Los Angeles of just under...

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