Say “Aloha” to Mardy, ECLA’s Founder and Centre Director

On May 1st we bid farewell to Mardy Arenas (MA), our Centre Director and the founder of EC Los Angeles. We asked her about her experience as part of the EC team and to share some parting words. Continue reading for her interview!

We will miss Mardy’s smiling face!


EC | Tell us about your involvement with EC.

MA | I have been with EC for 8 years. I started as a volunteer at Olin Center in Boston, and then I became a teacher and Activities Coordinator at EC Boston. I then moved to EC San Diego to work in an admin position. I was Accommodations Coordinator and quickly moved up to Assistant Director in a year. After 2 years in San Diego, I was offered the position to start up and become Centre Director at EC Los Angeles – the best school in the world with the best people in the world!


EC | How have you seen ECLA grow since its beginnings?

MA | ECLA changed and grew very quickly. We started with 5 students and 2 staff members. I was Centre director, sat at the front desk, and chaperoned activities. The only other staff was the Academic Director who also led activities. After only one year, we needed to start the double banking schedule to accommodate the quantity of incoming students! Now our school has many more admin and teaching staff than when ECLA first began.


EC | How have you grown from being a part of the EC family?

MA | I experienced things here that I have never been faced with before, even at my other jobs. They taught me to know myself better. I learned a lot and now know about what kind of team works for me. My time here also helped me define my true abilities and limits, which I was not fully aware of before.


EC | What is your best EC memory?

MA | When I hosted a staff Christmas party at my apartment. It was a rager. We had a gift exchange, lots of food, and fit everyone in my small apartment. We bothered the neighbors and had so much fun. That night was when I really felt we were a team, not just people who work together.


EC | Why are you leaving us? What are your post-EC plans?

MA | I am moving to Hawaii to live amongst the flowers, birds, sand, and waves! It may sound cheesy, but I want to continue this adventure of life and continue to explore myself and the world.


EC | What last message do you want to share with ECLA?

MA | ECLA is my baby. Please take care of it. Treat it well and fill it with people who are happy and have the same passion as I do to provide for our students a place where they really want to be.


Mardy, you will be missed by all of us at ECLA and by every person who has had the privilege of encountering you along the way! Thank you for your dedication and leadership to this school. Aloha!

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