Leonardo DiCaprio to fund scholarships, climate education at his former elementary school

Category: Lifestyle/Entertainment


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. donor / ˈdoʊ nər / (n.) – a person or group that gives money or something valuable to an organization

    The anonymous donor gave a huge amount of money.

  2. profoundly / prəˈfaʊnd li / (adv.) – in a way that has a great or strong effect

    The newly developed medicine can profoundly improve patients’ lives.

  3. worldview / ˈwɜrldˌvyu / (n.) – a way of thinking about the world

    Traveling to other places and countries can change a person’s worldview.

  4. creek / krik / (n.) – a small river or stream

    The water in the creek is cool and clear.

  5. recipient / rɪˈsɪp i ənt / (n.) – a person who receives something

    My brother was the recipient of a scholarship at his university.


Read the text below.

Leonardo DiCaprio will fund scholarships and a climate education program at the UCLA-based elementary school where he was once himself a scholarship student, the actor and the college said.

“I was fortunate enough to attend the Lab School due to the generous contributions of UCLA donors, and my experience profoundly transformed my worldview,” DiCaprio said in a statement to The Associated Press. “I am proud to have the chance to pass on my experience to those who might otherwise miss out on this opportunity, and to help create a program that will help guide the next generation of climate warriors.” The school aims to provide innovative educational techniques for its students — whose ages range from 4 to 12 — that outside teachers can come to study.

DiCaprio’s scholarship fund will give its students who need financial aid, which he got as a child when he went to the school in the 1980s, and will help the school to maintain the diversity it seeks. About 40% of its students need financial help. “This scholarship fund will provide many children access to UCLA Lab School, just as Leo had,” said Dr. Eric Esrailian, a professor in UCLA’s Health Sciences department and a longtime friend of DiCaprio.

The new and separate climate education program will seek to teach students from pre-Kindergarten through sixth grade about the science behind climate change and about the policy and leadership needed to address it. The school has sought to use its location, next to a creek amid redwoods on the Los Angeles university campus, to become a hands-on site for environmental teaching.

Esrailian said the program “will position children — both at the Lab School and beyond — for a more sustainable and healthy life for themselves and for our planet.” The amount of the donations behind the programs was not made public, but officials said generations of students will be the recipients.

“Expanding access to high-quality education and helping young people recognize the need to protect our planet are critical goals for our institution,” UCLA Chancellor Gene Block said in a statement.

This article was provided by The Associated Press.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • Leonardo DiCaprio said he wants to pass on his experience as a scholar to children who might otherwise miss out on the opportunity. What is your opinion of him and his move to provide scholarships? Discuss.
  • Given the chance, would you like to be a donor to a scholarship fund like DiCaprio? What subject/area of study would you like to fund (ex. history, science)? Why? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • UCLA Lab School wants to use its location, next to a creek amid redwoods to become a hands-on site for environmental teaching. What do you think will be the impact of this location on students? Discuss.
  • According to UCLA Chancellor Gene Block, “Expanding access to high-quality education and helping young people recognize the need to protect our planet are critical goals for our institution.” What actions can the university do to expand access to high-quality education? Discus.