El Monte, CA – Mountain View High School’s (MVHS) VISTA Academy student podcast, known as ‘The Art of Talking,’ hosted a successful live recording event with Lalo Alcaraz, a two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist and nationally-syndicated cartoonist. The event, held in the school’s new cafetorium in front of 300 students and teachers on Sept. 19, centered around a discussion of his latest animated short film, “Taking a Healthy Ride on the Green Side.”

In partnership with the El Monte Union High School District’s (EMUHSD) Clean Mobility in Schools Pilot Project and the California Air Resources Board (CARB), the animation focuses on how choosing green transportation options to get to school can improve community health.

The short features the voices of EMUHSD students and administrators, which Alcaraz recorded in MVHS podcast studio.

“I am truly honored to have been a part of this animation project and a guest on the Vista Academy ‘The Art of Talking’ podcast,” Alcaraz said. “We discussed my work and how young people must take advantage of their time in school and be responsible citizens. I was completely blown away by this top-notch production and the abilities these students have. They are sharp and ready for the future.”

During the live event, Alcaraz highlighted the intricacies of his creative process, shared insights into his artistic journey and underscored the significance of using art as a vehicle for activism and societal change. Attendees engaged in an interactive dialogue with Alcaraz, offering an enriching experience and valuable perspective on the power of visual storytelling.

Alcaraz’s notable portfolio includes groundbreaking works such as “La Cucaracha,” the first nationally-syndicated, politically themed Latino daily comic strip. His collaborations extend to renowned television series and films, including the Disney-Pixar film “Coco,” Nickelodeon’s animated children show “The Casagrandes” and the thought-provoking animated show “Bordertown.”

“I am extremely grateful to be a part of my school’s VISTA Academy program because of the knowledge I’ve learned such as directing, editing and producing and the hands-on opportunities that are provided to us such as today’s live podcast event,” MVHS senior and podcast producer Alexis Mata said. “Thank you to Mr. Alcaraz and everyone for coming out and supporting our show, we hope our school community enjoyed listening and are encouraged to choose green transportation options.”

In 2020, El Monte Union was awarded a $9.8 million grant by CARB to fund a menu of Clean Mobility measures that promote the use of zero-emission vehicles and clean transportation options for students, parents and staff, with the added benefit of a pilot career technical education curriculum that aims to engage students in clean energy career pathways.

The Clean Mobility in Schools Pilot Project transformed mobility for EMUHSD by adding 11 new zero-emission buses to the fleet, 11 all-electric utility maintenance carts and four electric ride-share vehicles, allowing the District to serve more students and plan for more holistic, active transportation to ensure safety and improve congestion.

“Congratulations to MVHS VISTA Academy student podcast team for hosting a tremendously successful event and thank you to Mr. Alcaraz for his hard work and sharing his experiences with our students and community,” Superintendent Dr. Edward Zuniga said. “This event and animation project has showcased the incredible talents of our students, and it exemplifies the spirit of excellence within our district.”

To watch the 90-second animation with companion 30-second PSAs in English and Spanish, please visit the El Monte Union High School District’s Clean Mobility website.

To listen to the “The Art of Talking” Podcast show, please visit MVHS VISTA Academy website.


EMUHSD_MVHS PODCAST_1: Mountain View High School’s VISTA Academy seniors and student podcast team DeAdalene Olmedo (left), Ashley Erazo (left center), Martin Elios Obida (right center) and Alexis Mata (right) prepare for their live event with two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist and cartoonist Lalo Alcaraz (center) to discuss his new animated short, “Taking a Healthy Ride on the Green Side” on Sept. 19.

EMUHSD_MVHS PODCAST_2: Mountain View High School’s VISTA Academy student podcast team hosts a live event with Lalo Alcaraz, the creator of the nationally-syndicated comic strip “La Cucaracha,” on Sept. 19.

EMUHSD_MVHS PODCAST_3: Mountain View High School (MVHS) sophomore Albert Galarza shares his original comic strips and receives praise from two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist and cartoonist Lalo Alcaraz during MVHS VISTA Academy live student podcast event held Sept. 19.