Irvine, Calif. (March 6, 2014) – In celebration of the one-year anniversary of the Graduate for Más program, The Taco Bell Foundation for Teens™ and Get Schooled, in partnership with actor/author and Locke alum Tyrese Gibson made a surprise visit to Alain LeRoy Locke College Preparatory Academy, to reward their commitment to graduate high school.
Locke students were surprised with a special visit from Gibson in a schoolwide pep rally. Gibson met with students, spoke about what Locke has meant to him and how graduating from high school gave him the building blocks he needed to get to where he is today in his career. He presented the school with a $25,000 donation in order to provide students with educational resources needed to succeed. The Taco Bell® Truck was also on-site, serving more than 1,500 Doritos Locos Tacos and burritos to the students.
“I was thrilled to partner with the Taco Bell Foundation for Teens and Get Schooled and give back to the students at Locke,” said Gibson, who graduated from Locke in 1996. “The teachers at Locke gave me the tools and inspiration to achieve my dreams, especially my music teacher Reggie Andrews who taught me music, but became a father figure and changed my life. Without their support and dedication, I would not be where I am today. I'm walking inside of answered dreams and prayers everyday and I want to be able to provide that same opportunity for the students of Locke.
Now operated by Green Dot Public Schools, a non-profit organization, Locke has more than doubled its graduation rate and the number of students enrolling in college has quadrupled. This year, 100 percent of students from the school’s Academy A made the promise to graduate. The school originally missed out on winning a visit from the Taco Bell® Truck by a tie-break, but in the spirit of Taco Bell® “Live Más,” was issued a second challenge to win.This, along with the Taco Bell Foundation for Teens™ and Get Schooled’s one-year anniversary celebrating the nearly two million teens the Foundation has enabled and inspired since its inception in 1992 made the perfect sense to pay Locke this special visit.
Graduate for Más is a program dedicated to empowering teens to make a personal commitment to graduate high school and to achieve “más” in their communities. The Taco Bell Foundation for Teens™ developed the program in partnership with Get Schooled to provide digital tools, support and an online community that high school students need to stay on track. Once registered, teens receive the information and inspiration they need to succeed. By staying active, they can earn points for prizes, rewards and educational support, including scholarships, and mentoring resources in their communities. To date, 120,000 teens have made the promise to graduate.
“Today’s visit will have a long-lasting impact on the students, the school and the community,” said Locke Academy A Principal Dr. Peggy Gutierrez. “Our mission is to prepare all students for college, leadership and life. We are proud of all of our students making the pledge to graduate, and we will do whatever it takes to help them reach that goal. We are so thankful for the visit from the Taco Bell Foundation for Teens™, Get Schooled and of course, Tyrese Gibson. His donation to Locke is a wonderful example of giving back for all our students to follow.”
“I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the one-year anniversary for Graduate for Más than with today’s visit to Locke Academy rewarding the students for making the pledge to graduate,” said Lee Mitchell, Vice Chair of the Taco Bell Foundation for Teens™ and local Taco Bell® franchisee, who co-sponsored the event. “Together with partners like Get Schooled, and support from celebrities like Tyrese who have a personal investment in this school and the community, we will continue to create a movement to inspire and empower teens to ‘live más,’ graduate from high school and accomplish their dreams.”
About Taco Bell Foundation for Teens
Taco Bell Foundation Inc., also known as Taco Bell Foundation for Teens™, is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) public benefit corporation committed to inspiring and enabling America’s teens to achieve más through its programs, partnerships, and direct financial assistance. Every year, the Foundation serves more than 1 million teens in over 6,000 communities across the country and awards more than 300 grants and scholarships focused on education and career preparedness. Since 1992, the Foundation has served 2 million teens and awarded more than $45 million in support of more than 1,000 teen-serving organizations in the U.S. through customer, franchisee, employee and vendor-partner donations. For more information visit tacobellforteens.org, and find us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/TacoBell4Teens.
About Taco Bell Corp.
Taco Bell Corp., a subsidiary of Yum! Brands, Inc., (NYSE: YUM), is the nation's leading Mexican-inspired quick service restaurant. Taco Bell serves made to order and customizable tacos, burritos, and specialties such as the exclusive Doritos® Locos Tacos, gourmet- inspired Cantina Bell® Menu and lower calorie Fresco Menu. The company encourages customers to “Live Más,” both through its food and in ways such as its Feed The Beat® music program and its nonprofit organization, the Taco Bell Foundation for Teens™. Taco Bell and its more than 350 franchise organizations have nearly 6,000 restaurants across the United States that proudly serve more than 36 million customers every week.
About Get Schooled
Get Schooled is a non-profit organization that directly engages and motivates students to graduate from high school and succeed in college. Get Schooled is the premiere education brand for young people – linking students with high quality, cutting edge resources and tools they need to succeed. Get Schooled has developed a track record of success because it engages with young Americans using the media, technology and popular culture that is an integral part of their lives. Get Schooled's work is boosted by partners like Viacom and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. In its first three years, Get Schooled has engaged more than 3.5 million young Americans and has built a network of more than 1,325 middle and high schools.
About Green Dot Public Schools
Green Dot Public Schools is a non-profit organization with a mission to transform the landscape of public education so all students graduate prepared for college, leadership and life.Green Dot currently operates 19 public charter schools – 14 public high schools and 5 public middle schools – purposefully located in Los Angeles’ highest-need communities.
Last year, Green Dot graduated more than 1,500 students, the most of any charter school organization in the nation for the second year in a row. In its 14-year history, Green Dot has graduated more than 8,000 students with more than 90% being accepted to college.
From a rigorous, college-prep curriculum, inside the classroom to meeting challenges outside the classroom – we do whatever it takes to prepare all students for college, leadership and life. For more information visit: www.greendot.org.