Outside the Ivory Tower
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a desk behind Guerrero sit ELC senior Hilda Jimenez and Jenny McMillan,
a Vista volunteer trained and supervised by UCLA. They are working
at a computer to fill out an online application for California State
is a full-time job to keep the students on track with college-entrance
exams, school-application deadlines and informational meetings for
parents. The results, however, are worth every ounce of effort.
like hearing, 'Hey, I get to go to college,' " McMillan says.
Jimenez, who also plans to apply to several UC campuses, including
UCLA, "Only recently did I start thinking I could go to college.
Mr. Guerrero told me I have a high enough GPA. That felt real good.
My parents are really excited, as excited as me. Excited and scared."
to the center's success, says Guerrero, is the school's policy of
putting all of its high school students on a college-prep track.
"We create a curriculum so that all of our kids get the UC-
or CSU-required classes."
clearest gauge of the center's success, he says, is the increasing
UC-acceptance rate: Two years ago, six students were accepted into
UC; last year, 17 were accepted. This year, the center anticipates
that 34 will be accepted more than 20 percent of the entire
all have the desire," says McMillan, "but to have others
us believe in them motivates them to push themselves
Hector Gomez already has plans to attend Cal State. "My mom's
always told me that I am going to college," he says. "I
know it's all within me to make what I want for myself. But it's
very useful to have help."