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Marathon Petroleum Corp: Summer-long project transforms middle school near Los Angeles refinery

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Andrew Carnegie Middle School in Carson, California, looked like new when the doors opened for the 2022–2023 school year, following a months-long beautification project.

“The students and staff were equally amazed by the transformation,” said Carnegie Principal Jenaro Torres. “It was all anyone talked about for the first few weeks of the new school year.”

The refresh was completed by about 200 employee and contractor volunteers from the maintenance department at Marathon Petroleum’s nearby Los Angeles refinery (LAR). Part of the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), the 6th through 8th grade magnet school became like a second home for Marathon Petroleum personnel during the summer project. Many of them spent nearly every weekend of their summer on the campus, volunteering their time and a variety of skillsets to give the school a complete transformation.
Volunteers prepped and painted the entire exterior of the multi-building campus, a complex that dates to 1965. They added several large stairwell murals with assistance from community partner’s like Sharefest. They also removed overgrown landscaping and replaced it with thousands of new plants, fresh sod, and added an irrigation system.

“Every kid deserves to be proud of where they go to school,” said Frank Marino, Maintenance Supervisor at the Los Angeles refinery, who also spearheaded the large-scale project that started as soon as the last school year ended in May 2022.

“You could definitely say we worked to the very last minute,” Marino added. “Being part of such a transformational project in our community made all of the long hours and time spent away from our friends and families so worth it in the end.”

Community-wide Impact

Located less than 2 miles from the refinery, Carnegie has long been a staple in the community directly south of Los Angeles. Its alumni include current Marathon Petroleum team members.

“It’s hard to put into words,” said Antonio Aguilar, an Operator at the refinery who attended Carnegie Middle School. “This school played such an important role in my life, so after all these years, to be a part of this project—my heart is full.”

Principal Torres said he and many others can relate to the feeling.

“A project like this effects change beyond these walls—a renewed sense of pride in Carnegie that extends well into the community,” said Torres.

The Los Angeles refinery completed a similar beautification project at Wilmington Park Elementary in the spring of 2021.


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