LACS ALUM BUILDS A LEGACY OF SUCCESS FOR OTHERS
Los Angeles Christian School is an uncommon educational institution where students are nurtured, loved, supported, and cultivated in their unique giftings, all within a Christ-centered environment. Students begin this journey in kindergarten and quickly come to the realization that their small, familial like environment will end their eighth-grade year.
During this time, dread begins to set-in for both the parent and the student for varying reasons. Questions of safety, academic rigor, and concerns as to how their child will handle the exposure that comes with exiting a Christ-centered community. These questions and concerns are similar to any parent in the process of transitioning their child to high school.
The beauty of our ministry is that we are able to guide parents through the process of choosing a high school and advise them about the best options for their child. As this program continued to develop, a former LACS student–who is currently a LACS teacher–began to dream outside of the public school system for her students and explore avenues for LACS students to apply to private Christian high schools.
Cynthia (Marroquin) Layton grew up being a part of the LACS family. After graduating eighth-grade, her parents began asking the same questions our current LACS families continue to ask 18 years later. Cynthia had the privilege of experiencing both the public and private school systems and ultimately graduated from a private school in the San Fernando Valley. After attending a Christian High School and getting her undergraduate degree in education, Cynthia returned to teach as a middle school teacher at LACS.
Knowing that LACS students would thrive in academically rigorous environments and would be a blessing to any campus community they joined, Cynthia began a partnership with Maranatha High School and helped guide two young ladies, and their parents, through the unfamiliar and bewildering process of applying to a private high school. These LACS students had the grades, work ethic, and teachable spirits, but the schools, and the parents, had to be convinced that it could work. Cynthia spent countless hours communicating with school administrators and the parents to make the vision a reality.
In 2016, two young ladies were accepted to Maranatha High School in Pasadena, CA, one of the top Christian High Schools in the San Gabriel Valley. In 2017, another two young ladies were accepted. This pattern continues with more gender diversity. Currently, we have seven students attending Maranatha, four students on board to apply for varying private high schools this coming year and four LACS Alumni who graduated from Maranatha and are now attending college.
The program has been a success because Cynthia saw an even greater need than just getting students accepted to a Christian High School. For most of our students who have been raised in the inner city, the culture shock of venturing into new spheres outside of their norms can pose unexpected challenges, something that Cynthia, herself, was familiar with.
Desiring to offer LACS alumni the support they needed, Cynthia began to mentor these students, visiting them often on their high school campus and helping them navigate the new expectations. She remained part of their social capital and began to develop a supportive peer community among them to help navigate their new world.
The success of these students spurred Cynthia to develop a program at the Los Angeles Christian Middle School called Character, Culture, and Leadership (CCL). She is currently developing new curriculum that is now offered to every student from 6th to 8th grade. Regardless of whether our students attend a private Christian High school, public, magnet or charter school, the things they learn in CCL prepare them to answer the three questions that shape an emerging leader–who am I? do I have a purpose? and what is my value and worth? Having wrestled with these questions through the lens of social science and biblical truth, LACS students graduate with a deep seeded understanding that they are destined to be world changers. Cynthia, and the students she mentors, represent the mission of LACS and usher in more of God’s kingdom in ways that will echo into eternity.