Canoga Park : 4 Local Students to Ride in Rose Parade

Four Canoga Park children will ride on the city of Los Angeles' float in the Tournament of Roses Parade on New Year's Day in Pasadena.

Fifth-graders Jay Allen Bonifacio, Devin Gimple and Irene Wu and fourth-grader Stephanie Montano, all of whom attend Canoga Park Elementary School, were selected to represent Canoga Park and L.A.'s BEST (Better Educated Students for Tomorrow). Coco Mendoza, site coordinator for the after-school enrichment program, will also ride on the float.

The four youths will join four others from 49th Street Elementary School in South-Central Los Angeles aboard the city's float, which is a replica of the historic Angels Flight trolley.

The trolley shuttled millions of people from Bunker Hill to downtown Los Angeles in the early part of this century. The railway was dismantled in 1969 to make way for an urban renewal project. But after its restoration--slated for mid-1996--the trolley will again transport riders, this time from the Red Line's 4th Street subway station to California Plaza.

The L.A.'s BEST program, which operates at 22 elementary schools across the city, has more than 4,500 student participants. Youths engage in free activities, ranging from dance and athletics to homework assistance and computer instruction.

Organizers say the program has become a model for other cities, including Sacramento, which will open 20 similar after-school programs.

The program was created in 1988 through a partnership with the mayor's office, the city's Community Redevelopment Agency, the Los Angeles Unified School District and the private sector.

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