Monday, August 10, 2009

Aurora Ponce fundraiser a success! Patrick Judd and the Accelerated School fail to hold down a rising star

All Patrick Judd posts HERE.

An email from

Here at we are so excited that the fundraiser has been a success! Our goal was to raise the $1590 that UC Davis states students need for a year's worth of books and supplies.

As you know, among other punishments, Aurora's school (The Accelerated School) took away her summer tutoring job for peacefully protesting budget cuts causing class size increases and teacher layoffs. She needed the job to buy college books in the Fall.

Tomorrow (Tuesday August 11) at 10AM, outside of The Accelerated School, we will be presenting Aurora with a check for over $1680 (and more donations coming in). This event is organized by parent leaders from The Accelerated School and ACORN.

An overwhelming percent (86% at this point) of the donations have come from Public School Teachers. This is a powerful statement that our teachers care deeply about our students.

Aurora Ponce was publicly berated and chastised by her school administrators. In response, social justice educators and community members have risen to her defense. At we hope that this effort will counter any chilling effect on student-activists.

We hope the message is heard loud and clear: if you stand up for justice, people will stand with you.

Best Wishes,
James Ehrlich,


School relents on barring valedictorian from graduation speech
June 29, 2009

Aurora Ponce, the 18-year-old South L.A. valedictorian who was barred from giving a speech at graduation because she participated in a student protest over growing class sizes and other concerns, was allowed to speak at Saturday's ceremony.

The teenager, her family and supporters met with officials of the Accelerated School for two hours Friday but the matter remained unresolved, Ponce said. She prepared her speech and school officials reviewed it Saturday morning before giving her approval minutes before the ceremony.

"It meant a lot to me," said Ponce, who is heading to UC Davis in August to study engineering. "All the seniors were supporting me, my parents were there supporting me, my teachers...I was really happy."

-- Seema Mehta

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