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Paying it Forward: An Alumna's Journey to Transforming her Community PDF Print Email
Written by Itzy Gutierrez   
Monday, 07 April 2014
For College Track East Palo Alto alumna, Marlene Castro, a sense of social justice and equity set in early on, very close to home. Marlene grew up naturally interested in school, but the same was not true for her brother. "We're 11 months apart, and in many ways we felt like twins," she recalls. "But not in school." 

Marlene began to observe a "stark difference" in how the siblings were treated as they advanced through the grades. "It was tough to see how teachers were supporting me, but not my brother." In their East Palo Alto neighborhood, gang violence and rough schools were common – while visions of college were not. Most students' parents, like Marlene's, had not gone on to higher education. These realities had a way of limiting conversations about the future, even for ambitious students like Marlene. "You'd hear that college is important, through society at large, but not at school." 

This narrative shifted abruptly when Marlene joined College Track in the summer before 9th grade. "College Track staff really validated where we were coming from," she says. "Their message was: We know it's hard, the odds are against you, but that's not an excuse to not make it." That message would soon extend to her brother, who joined the program the next year.
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Learning Beyond the Classroom: Spotlight on San Francisco Sophomore, Luis Menacho PDF Print Email
Written by Itzy Gutierrez   
Monday, 07 April 2014
Heading into last summer, high school sophomore Luis Menacho felt he was on the path to academic success, having boosted his grade-point average and gotten support in English and History at the College Track center in San Francisco. But one obstacle nagged at him. 

“I was a little quiet and didn’t talk much,” says Luis. He would tend to clam up when meeting new people, and had a particular aversion to talking on the phone. As summer drew near, he discussed these challenges with College Track San Francisco’s Student Life Director, Miguel Abad. “Miguel suggested I look into a summer internship that would build my leadership skills,” Luis recalls. Miguel connected Luis with the Coro Exploring Leadership program, which placed him in a six-week internship at Springworks, an education technology company in downtown San Francisco. 
 
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African American Male Initiative PDF Print Email
Written by Itzy Gutierrez   
Wednesday, 25 September 2013
By: Sherdren Burnside, ULCT Site Director, Shria Tomlinson, CT Oakland Site Director, & Marshall Lott, Chief Advocate for College Completion

The statistics for African American males are stark. According to Dr. Robert Ross, President and CEO of The California Endowment, “Black men today are more likely to receive a GED in prison than graduate from college.” College Track is on a mission to change this reality.  

Historically, 84% of College Track’s African American male population has graduated from high school “college eligible,” compared to less than 23% in California. That is not to say there are not challenges. Currently, College Track serves 123 African American male students, only 13% of total enrollment, and historically, African American males have had the lowest retention rates in the program. In an effort to increase the number of African American males that graduate from high school, enroll in college, and earn a college degree, College Track has launched the African American Male Initiative (AAMI). The AAMI seeks to develop institutional practices that support increased enrollment and retention of African American males participating in College Track by employing a variety of strategies and techniques to improve outcomes for these young men.

aamale_initiative.jpg 

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Giving Back: Spotlight on Urban League College Track Graduate Troy Simon PDF Print Email
Written by Itzy Gutierrez   
Wednesday, 25 September 2013
In Young in America: New Orleans, an anthology of pieces by Urban League College Track students, Troy Simon writes: "There's no way to run from this world. The only thing we can do is face it and overcome our biggest challenges." 

Troy's challenges were bigger than most. At the age of 12, Hurricane Katrina swept through New Orleans, scattering Troy and his family. They did not reunite until a week and a half later, in the Houston Astrodome. His childhood home as he knew it gone, Troy relocated to Texas. In the year after the hurricane, as his hometown took on the immense task of rebuilding, Troy began his own uphill climb. He began to learn to read and write.
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At Home Outside her Comfort Zone: Spotlight on Boyle Heights' High School Sophomore Kimberly Ortega PDF Print Email
Written by Itzy Gutierrez   
Wednesday, 25 September 2013
"When I was about to take the stage, I was really, really, really nervous," Kimberly Ortega says of the moments before her TEDxYouth Talk last March. "I mean, extremely nervous." 

Her anxiety was well-founded. After all, the College Track Boyle Heights then 9th-grader was in heady company. Through the years, TED Talks have been delivered by the likes of Isabel Allende, Malcolm Gladwell, and Steve Jobs. And here was Kimberly, a high school freshman, about to step onstage before a crowd of unfamiliar faces, armed with just a mic and her voice. "It was terrifying!" 


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Making the Most of a Self Guided College Tour PDF Print Email
Written by Christina Seruge   
Monday, 17 June 2013
By: Christina Seruge
 
On May 1st, over 150 College Track seniors submitted their college intent to enroll forms, securing a spot with the freshmen class at their selected campuses. For many students, participating in college visits played an important role in their decision process. College Track understands the value in having students explore college campuses, as this often leads them to apply to a school they would have otherwise overlooked. Every spring, groups of College Track students leave their community, often for the first time, on a mission to explore college campuses across the country. 
 
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Forever in a Family: Spotlight on Tevah El Emmet PDF Print Email
Written by Itzy Gutierrez   
Friday, 19 April 2013

When you hear people talk about "giving back," it's often after finishing college or settling into a career. But for College Track Oakland graduate Tevah El Emmet, giving back started early – in high school.

Using his knack for hip-hop and spoken-word, Tevah began visiting other Bay Area high schools to perform in front of his peers. One of his songs, "Addicted," was a cautionary narrative about drug abuse and other forms of addiction. Realizing the song resonated with other kids, Tevah's mother suggested that Tevah not only perform the song, but start a dialogue with other students about it.

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A Day with a College Track Mentee PDF Print Email
Written by Itzy Gutierrez   
Friday, 19 April 2013

College Track San Francisco Day Brings students and San Francisco-based companies together


College Track San Francisco student Theresa was skeptical about meeting her mentor for the first time. “I was concerned we wouldn’t connect,” the junior from Thurgood Marshall High School explained, “but I was wrong! My mentor was really outgoing and friendly, and there were no dull moments the entire day.”

Theresa was reflecting on the inaugural College Track San Francisco Day (CTSF Day), which took place on March 2nd at San Francisco’s City Hall. Theresa was paired with Vy Huynh, a Senior Wholesaler for Chase. Vy volunteers regularly through GOOD Works, Chase’s volunteer program. “When I saw this opportunity, I was immediately interested. I’ve mentored before and truly enjoy it,” said Vy. See pictures from the event at facebook.com/NationalCollegeTrack.

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Making College Affordable PDF Print Email
Written by Christina Seruge   
Monday, 15 April 2013

“No way can I afford a four-year college education!” Unfortunately, this is a thought that often goes through the minds of high school students when deciding where to apply for college. College Track understands that financial gaps make it difficult for students to get into and graduate from four-year institutions. To address this issue, College Track students, myself included, are encouraged to start saving for college while they are still in high school, are required to apply for scholarships as early as their freshmen year of high school, and can earn money for college by meeting program requirements.

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College Track Sites Provide Space for Communities PDF Print Email
Written by Christina Seruge   
Thursday, 14 February 2013
By: Christina Seruge

College Track’s sites are not only a place where students receive tutoring and have access to myriad of resources; it is also a place for the community to come together. The Bayview Hunters Point site in San Francisco is no exception. In fact, since the grand opening of the new site on Third Street at Jerrold Avenue, College Track San Francisco has provided valuable meeting space to local organizations and city officials, proving to be an incredible asset to the entire Bayview Hunters Point community.

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" To succeed, you need to FIND SOMETHING TO HOLD ON TO, something to motivate you, something to inspire you. That place for me is College Track."
  Wendy Renderos, Class of 2007
 
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