Entrepreneur Jesse Lee spoke to Belmont’s student body, September 15th as part of an upcoming speaker series Lee intends to bring to the school.
Lee was moved after reading about Marcos Gaspar’s story in the LA Times. According to Lee, Gaspar’s story mirrored some of his own experiences in life. “I wouldn’t have [arrived at this moment] without people supporting me,” said Lee who aims to give back to students in the Belmont family. After reading about Gaspar’s story, Lee “made a promise to invest towards people who need help.”
Lee is an entrepreneur who works within the fashion and music industry. “It’s not just musicians who I want to help,” said Lee. “I want to indirectly help others in my community.” Students like Miguel Lemus identified with Lee’s experience. “I came here when I was in 6th grade and didn’t know the language or lifestyle much like Lee only knew Korean and it was really hard to adapt,” said Lemus. “I liked that Lee was honest about his experience and didn’t care about sharing that he grew up in poor.”
Students on campus listened for an hour as Lee shared his vast life experiences. According to Bryan Zahavedra, he enjoyed hearing “how Lee started from scratch and worked his way up to the person he is now.” Lee closed the talk by reminding students that he wants to “help educate other people because you never know, they might be the future teachers and doctors of my daughter.”
Reporting by Jonathan Bautista
Photography by Miguel Lemus
Belmont remains the keeper of the legendary bell after a 22-6 victory against longtime rival Marshall High. Pressure is certainly on after a momentous run last year.
Linebacker Edward Jackson spoke to The Sentinel earlier today about the inherent pressure of following a championship season. “We have to come out and set a tone, be aggressive, ready to make plays and go to work,” said Jackson. That intention came to fruition when Najee Singleton made a one-handed interception, thrilling football alumni and fans in the stands. Other standout performances included multiple touchdowns by Keiyon Johnson and Isaiah Chatman’s fourth quarter touchdown with a nine-yard rush.
Wide receiver Carlos Castillo also graciously spoke to Sentinel reporters Diamond Robinson and Leonel Arenas about the focus and intensity needed for the season after losing over 20 graduating seniors from last year’s roster. “We are pushing each other constantly, trying to get the best out of each other,” noted Castillo.
Linebacker and running back Shaston Young is ready for the challenge of the season, including a new coach. “I was adjusting to having new coaches and [initially] not sure how we would do with the rebuiliding process,” Young commented. “We started out making sure we adapted to how he coaches.” According to Young, he also relishes the opportunity to serve as a role model to the athletes who are joining the Varsity roster. “They look up to us,” noted Young. “If we show out [on the field], it motivates them to do the same.”
The team takes on Torres High tonight, September 9th at 7 pm. All Sentinels are encouraged to fill the stands to cheer on the team. Look for more football coverage by Diamond Robinson, Leonel Arenas, and Heylin Castellon in an edition of The Sentinel and in the CIF city section sports news online.
Photo by Paul De Los Reyes
Former Belmont sports editor and photographer Melina Cruz made the jump from a high school photojournalist to a summer job behind the lens at Dodger Stadium.
Cruz’s work ethic, documenting every single game in Belmont’s championship football season and her role as a sports editor, impressed the head of the Fan Cam services for the Dodgers. This dedication paid off when she landed the paid internship at Dodger Stadium thanks to a recommendation from a Belmont guest speaker Jon Soohoo, the official photographer of the Dodgers.
This job was a departure from her usual position, capturing the action on the field. This time, Cruz was responsible for taking and archiving the images of the exuberant Dodger fans before and during the game. “It was really challenging because you are used to your classmates and teacher reviewing the pictures, but now I have actual customers and a boss who view the pictures,” said Cruz.
Cruz’s Sentinel staff members were thrilled to hear she worked at such an iconic venue this summer, using the skills she acquired at Belmont. “I’m honored to know Melina before she was a Fan Cam photographer,” said The Sentinel’s Editor-in-Chief Jocelin Alvarado. “It makes us think that there are so many possibilities for us because people underestimate the talent at Belmont and what the school has to offer. Anything is possible at our school.”
Her experience as a Sentinel editor culminated in a scholarship award, honoring Cruz as an “Upcoming Latina Journalist” from the California Chicano News Media Association at the end of her senior year. She is currently a freshman at California State University Northridge majoring in photojournalism and minoring in Spanish language journalism. Look for the full story on Melina’s post-high school adventures by Jordy Samayoa in an upcoming edition of The Sentinel.
Gaspar Marcos stepped off the 720 bus into early-morning darkness in MacArthur Park after the end of an eight-hour shift of scrubbing dishes in a Westwood restaurant.
He walked toward his apartment, past laundromats fortified with iron bars and scrawled with graffiti, shuttered stores that sold knockoffs and a cook staffing a taco cart in eerie desolation. Around 3 a.m., he collapsed into a twin bed in a room he rents from a family.
Five hours later, he slid into his desk at Belmont High School, just before the bell rang. The 18-year-old sophomore rubbed his eyes and fixed his gaze on an algebra equation.
Minutes ticked by, and others straggled into the class, nine in all. Like Marcos, most had worked a full shift the night before — sewing clothes, cooking in restaurants, painting homes.
Most were immigrants from Central America, part of several waves of more than 100,000 who arrived as children in the U.S. in the past five years without parents, often after perilous journeys.