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Go, grads! We honored a new set of graduates from our Leadership Academy yesterday at a ceremony in El Monte.

The Graduates:
Vanessa Cazares
Crystal Delgado
Jocelyne Flores
Reannon Fontan
Kyle Hamada
Cuauhtemoc Hernandez
Jorge Martinez
Phuoc Nguyen
Jaime M. Reyes
Gregorio Rodriguez
Jonathan Rodriguez
Ariana Santamaria
Raphael Serna
Nancy Verdin

So far, 49 people have graduated from the program and 25 projects have been successfully executed throughout the region.

At the ceremony, we also handed out Champion Awards to honor the outstanding contributions made by individuals in support of our mission.

The Champions:
Denis Bertone (San Dimas) was recognized for his leadership among his fellow council members in the San Gabriel Valley and instrumental support in helping achieve the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument. Denis has chaired the Environmental Subcommittee of the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments and consistently sought balanced thoughtful dialogue on the legislative designations for the regions open space.

Amy Wong was honored for her outstanding leadership to organize fellow graduates of the Leadership Academy. Amy helped establish the alumni group, Stewards of the San Gabriel Mountains, and has volunteered with Bike San Gabriel Valley in support of the campaign.

George Sanchez Tello received the unique honor of the SGMF Leadership Award given to those individuals who have served the campaign directly through a partner organization. George has been with The Wilderness Society for four years as the manager of the SGMF Leadership Academy. In his tenure, he launched the Academy, served as a powerful spokesperson for engaging all communities in the conservation the movement, and helped build support for the San Gabriels within the community he grew up in through deep personal engagement with everyone he meets. In the fall, George will move on to focus on teaching within the Cal State system, including courses on public speaking and environmental justice.

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