Above, Eden Nava and gives back to her community by volunteering at a local food bank.

By Alex Adams
Partnership & Outreach Team
Green Design STEAM Academy

Eden Nava is a remarkable student we have the pleasure of working with at Green Design STEAM Academy in the Diego Rivera Learning Complex.

Eden is one of the only handful of students in the Los Angeles area who will be taking the Advanced Placement Calculus BC exam this year, which is the more rigorous second part to the AP Calculus exam. Last year, she was the only junior to score a 5 on the AP Calculus exam. She did this because of the countless hours her calculus instructor, Jesse Ramirez, spent after school teaching her.

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Eden Nava

Eden is a senior now. She is looking forward to graduating and attending an Ivy League school of her choice. Eden has been interviewed by schools like Princeton and Harvard, and she receives offers often. the University of California at Berkeley is paying for flight and hotel expenses to visit the campus.

What she has accomplished with the opportunities available at our small school, despite her barriers in life, is the reason I am writing this story.

We were lucky enough to have recruited Eden from Drew Middle School, which serves students from both the Watts and the Florence-Firestone Neighborhoods, in South Los Angeles.

Eden will be this year’s valedictorian, earning straight A’s since the sixth-grade. She sits as the student representative for both School Governance Council and School Leadership Council, and devotes her free time to running our school’s leadership, senior class activities, and volunteers at the local food bank.

Eden is Latina from the Florence-Firestone neighborhood of South L.A. Like many students from Green Design STEAM Academy, Eden will be the first in her family to attend a major university. Unfortunately, Eden is facing the challenge of being able to raise enough money before graduation to help her relocate and purchase a used car for the new phase in her life.

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Eden Nava and her classmates tackle an architecture and construction lesson at the Green Design STEAM Academy.

Recently, the school hosted its first Career Day at Green Design STEAM Academy. Eden played a lead role in reaching out to professionals, businesses, and political leaders.

Guests came from all walks of life such as: the mayor of Downey, college professors, professional boxers from Golden Boy Promotions and doctors. Altogether, 19 Career Day guests visited nine classrooms. The guests informed our student body about their occupation, offered future internships, and devoted their time to showing them a variety of things such as pictures, boxing moves, and police equipment.

Career Day culminated with the guests having lunch with our seniors. Students experienced networking, and making connections with important guests from both inside and outside the community.

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Eden Nava is active in leadership and other school activities at the Green Design STEAM Academy.

This brings me back to Eden. I began working at Green Design STEAM Academy this school year, and I was assigned to be a part of the Partnership and Outreach Team. I did not know what was expected, so I began asking around.

This is when I met Eden and asked her, “What do you think we can do at Green Design to create meaningful partnerships and outreach to the community?” Eden replied, “Mr. Adams, we need to bring them into our school and show them all the good things Green Design is doing.” She went on to talk about the idea of networking our small school with the larger community through a career day event.

Six months later, Eden was the one who helped make Career Day happen. She created the room matrix and logistics, so we could maximize the number of students who would be exposed to the 19 Career Day guests we hosted. She was the one on the phone calling everyone from engineers to librarians to invite them to our career day.

What I learned from Eden is simple–one student at a school can make a difference. Whatever school is lucky enough to recruit her will experience the same fortune we did at Green Design STEAM Academy–change for the better.