EL MONTE – Fernando R. Ledesma High School has received a $5,000 grant from the Barona Band of Mission Indians to develop student literacy and promote a love of reading among underrepresented students.

The high school began the application process for the Barona Education Grant after interviewing their Trinity Youth Services students. The feedback received expressed a high student interest in wanting to read more books that resonated with them.

“With the Barona Education Grant, we will be championing the reading ability of our students,” Fernando R. Ledesma High School Principal Freddy Arteaga said. “We will empower our campus with the books they want to read, keeping the motivation to continue reading alive!”

California Senator Susan Rubio also showed her support by partnering with the Barona Band of Mission Indians to endorse the school. During the presentation of the grant on Oct. 29, Rubio visited Fernando R. Ledesma High to celebrate the power of reading.

“As a public-school teacher for 17 years, I know how important this school is to our community,” Rubio said. “I reminded these young men and women that their circumstances do not define them; their hard work and perseverance defines them. I am happy to help such a deserving school.”

The Barona Education Grant will help purchase new reading materials in multiple formats such as hardcovers and audio books.

“By taking the initiative in asking questions and listening to the needs of their underrepresented students,” Superintendent Dr. Edward Zuniga said. “Fernando R. Ledesma High School has positively shaped the lives of their students and successfully ensured the school is equipped with a number of books for them to choose from.”


EMUHSD_BARONA GRANT_1: Dignitaries, District officials, and students gather outside of Fernando R. Ledesma High School on Oct. 29 in celebration of the acceptance of the $5,000 Barona Educational Grant.

EMUHSD_BARONA GRANT_2: Students eagerly listen as speeches are given to recognize Fernando R. Ledesma High School as the recipient of the Barona Educational Grant on Oct. 29.