Student Body President Eli Blacklock, a junior at the Sato Academy of Mathematics and Science, speaks highly of the education he’s receiving at one of Long Beach’s newest high schools. At a recent Long Beach Unified School District Board of Education meeting, he served as the student board member, using the opportunity to provide a detailed report on Sato, which opened in East Long Beach in 2015 and is modeled after LBUSD’s nationally honored California Academy of Mathematics and Science. Here are excerpts of his comments:
“I am a member of the pioneering class at Sato, and it is a privilege to be representing the school here today. I would like to start off by thanking the Long Beach Unified School District and Mrs. Merlo, our principal, for having the vision to institute these specialized schools that help students enhance their educational experience and explore different career pathways… The engineering and biomedical classes that are offered to us every year are proof enough that the education we are receiving is top notch – from classes like computer-integrated manufacturing, with the use of industrial grade milling machines, to our medical interventions course, which simulates real-life scenarios in the medical field.”
“But Sato is so much more than its unique classes. The staff consistently provides us with support at every turn, facilitating trips to science museums and local industries as well as tours to nearby colleges like CSULB, Loyola Marymount and USC. The options never run out for those attending Sato. All students are invited to join clubs like rocketry, health occupations, students of America and robotics. And those who seek further activities in these clubs also have access to competitions that we participate in like MESA (math, engineering, science), HOSA (health occupations), the Chevron Engineering Design Challenge, and various drone and rocketry teams, which we have placed very well in, by the way.
“In addition to these extracurricular pursuits, we also do outreach to the local elementary schools. This week in fact, Sato's dispatching a freshman and sophomore class to over 20 fifth grade classes to do hands-on lessons to help spark interest in the science and engineering fields. Sato also has a one-of-a-kind link to China. Our connection to our sister school provides us with trips overseas and immersion in Chinese culture in after school programs. And Sato's relationship with CSULB, a short walk around the corner, also allows students to take additional courses for college units…
“It is encouraging to see that the word is getting out about Sato and the value it has to offer. Not only does Sato provide a stellar academic curriculum, it makes learning exciting and custom-fit for each student. I'd also like to note a few refurbishments to the Sato campus this year. A new fitness facility has been completed, and in the anticipation of more student drivers like myself, a new parking lot has also been constructed, which is very exciting for all of us down at Iroquois Ave. A final thank you is owed to the entire faculty and staff who have encouraged us and have been tremendous additions to our distinguished school. They have provided each student the tools necessary to succeed at these rigorous academic challenges.
“On a more personal note, when I was in middle school at Stanford and was required to choose a high school, I wasn't quite sure if Sato was the right choice. There was CAMS and McBride, and both were very appealing as they are impressive in every way and had already been established. But I can say now without reservation that Sato was the right choice, and I think of that most especially when I'm standing in the desert setting off our homemade rockets with Sato staff and the rocketry club.
“A great school is more than just a collection of buildings and a field. It is a community of faculty and students with a mind towards making a better future, and that is Sato. Go dragons, and thank you all very much.”