By JENNIKA INGRAM | Reporter
As the 2019-20 school year comes to a close, the Palisades Ambassadors reveal a change of leadership for the upcoming academic year.
Eli Safaie-Kia, who served as president of the Palisades Charter High School organization for the past two years, will be graduating and passing the torch to incoming co-presidents Laila Tehrani and Keanu Nahmi Natan.
“Eli is definitely leaving an impressive legacy for upcoming Ambassador leaders to uphold,” Principal Dr. Pamela Magee shared with the Palisadian-Post.
Safaie-Kia replaced former president Amir Ebtehadj in 2018 when he graduated.
“Due to his vision, work ethic and interpersonal skills, the program has far surpassed the original purpose of leading prospective family campus tours,” Magee, the direct advisor to the program, said, “and it’s become a training group for those who want to refine their leadership skills through serving their community.”
Magee is confident the cabinet members who will be serving in 2020-21 are more than up to the task. The presidency is a position appointed by Magee and the departing president.
Tehrani and Natan are committed to continuing the excellence of the Ambassador’s family, sharing the positivity of the Palisades more than ever, Safaie-Kia said in an outgoing letter to the community.
“They have already begun planning outreach programs for those impacted by COVID-19 and are looking forward to building lasting relationships with local civic organizations, businesses and residents,” Magee continued.
The Palisades Ambassadors have completed more than 4,000 hours of community service this school year. With the continued support of the community, they hope to double that number next year, according to Safaie-Kia’s letter.
He shared that the Ambassadors are fortunate to have Magee as the primary person overseeing the student leadership transition.
“Dr. Magee not only oversees the on-campus day-to-day operations of the program, but also plays a huge role behind the scenes approving our participation in events, helping us plan events and ensuring the outstanding quality of every student Ambassador,” Safaie-Kia wrote.
Safaie-Kia ended the semester by ensuring a smooth transition, as well as responding to the needs of the community and its organizations.
Safaie-Kia fondly remembered the annual Holiday Ho! Ho! Ho! as one of his favorite projects in 2019 because of how many community members were involved, he told the Post. He added that the Ambassadors program taught him the power of unity and the importance of teamwork between Palisadians of all ages.
Safaie-Kia became an ambassador in the middle of his sophomore year at Pali High.
“I was sitting in science class my sophomore year and I was in a pretty heated political debate with a kid sitting across from me,” Safaie-Kia told the Post, when Ebtehadj approached him and asked him to apply for the program.
Safaie-Kia was a little surprised since he didn’t consider himself a typical applicant.
“I got very involved and went to every event,” Safaie-Kia shared. “Amir took me under his wing and showed me the ropes of how to run the program. And before I knew it, I was president of the program myself my sophomore year.”
He regards Ebtehadj as a close friend and mentor, and called him an “awesome support” ever since.
Now finishing up his senior year, Safaie-Kia plans to attend the USC Marshall School of Business. He’s hopeful that in the future, he will be able to foster a working relationship between the Pali Ambassadors and the USC Ambassadors.
“The Ambassadors are trying to do what they can to stay helpful to the community,” Safaie-Kia explained about the current environment during COVID-19. Ambassadors are offering Zoom or Google Meet training sessions, as well as one-on-one support.
To reach out to program members or enlist the help of Pali Ambassadors, email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
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