MONROVIA, CA – Nearly 300 students from Santa Fe Computer Science School, and Monroe and Plymouth elementary schools moonwalked their way through a Michael Jackson tribute on Oct. 11 during a Lights On Afterschool celebration honoring their scholastic achievement.

State Sen. Anthony Portantino, whose district includes Monrovia, thanked Monroe Elementary fourth-grader Lanayah Gholar and Clifton Middle School sixth-grader Chloe Errickson, who accompanied him to Sacramento in May to advocate for Senate Bill 78, a measure designed to increase funding for the After School Education and Safety (ASES) program.

“Many parents have full-time jobs, so having an after-school program is a big help to them and their children,” Errickson said.

Gholar and Errickson presented Portantino with a painting of a tree in appreciation for his work as Budget Subcommittee chairman in pushing for the funding increase, which was included in the state budget signed by Gov. Jerry Brown in June.

“The Village Program is important because it gives us time to do our homework,” Gholer said.

Monrovia Unified’s Village Extended School Program is supported by an ASES grant and serves more than 600 students before and after school at Bradoaks, Monroe, Plymouth and Wild Rose elementary schools, and Clifton and Santa Fe middle schools. Village fosters student academic, physical, social and emotional development, and is recognized by the California Department of Education as a Distinguished After School Health (DASH) program.

“We are so proud of Lanayah and Chloe for their advocacy in supporting our after-school programs,” Board of Education Vice President Terrence Williams said. “They are examples of our many Monrovia Unified students who recognize the importance of the opportunities we provide, and are brave to lend their voices to a cause that will strengthen their academic future on behalf of others.”

Portantino visited Monroe Elementary in May as part of a Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE) effort to boost funding for the ASES program. It was then that Portantino recruited Gholar and Errickson to assist him in advocating in front of the state legislature.

“California’s ASES program received its first increase in funding in over 10 years, largely through the efforts of Lanayah and Chloe, who were representing not just Monrovia and the Village Program, but over 400,000 students throughout the state who depend on the funding for their afterschool programs,” Portantino said. “They are tremendous students who really made a difference.”

Lights On Afterschool is a nationwide event held in October to celebrate after-school programs and their role in keeping students safe, inspiring them to learn and helping working families. The Village Program will hold Lights On celebrations for Bradoaks and Wild Rose elementary schools at Clifton Middle School on Oct. 25.

“The Village Program supports Monrovia families by providing students a safe place to concentrate on their studies, socialize with friends and engage in healthy activities,” Superintendent Dr. Katherine Thorossian said. “I am so proud of Lanayah and Chloe for representing Monrovia Unified. Addressing our elected officials for a cause they believe in – especially in a public setting – would be difficult for most of us, but they did so in an articulate and effective manner.”


102017_MUSD_LIGHTSON1: Monroe Elementary School fourth-grader Lanayah Gholer and Clifton Middle School sixth-grader Chloe Errickson present a gift to State Sen. Anthony Portantino (far left) for his efforts to increase California state subsidies for afterschool programs during the Village Program’s Lights On Afterschool celebration on Oct. 11.

102017_MUSD_LIGHTSON2: A Monrovia elementary school student exchanges high-fives with Board of Education Vice President Terrence Williams during the Village Extended Learning Program Lights On Afterschool celebration held at Santa Fe Middle School on Oct. 11.