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Grant Provides RHS Students College Access
Forty-five students from Riverbank High School took a field trip to three colleges in Southern California and are shown here posing for a group photo at UCLA, one of the three schools they visited. Photo Contributed

With the end of the school year about a month away, seniors at Riverbank High School are not only preparing for graduation but also for their future. Through a grant received from the state, Nancy Garcia, Instructional Coach and AVID District Director was able to take 45 RHS students on a field trip to Southern California last week to visit three universities: the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), University of California Irvine (UCI), and California State University, Long Beach last week.

There was no cost to the students with the exception of a stop they made at Disneyland where students paid for a ticket out of their own pocket.

They spent a few hours at each school where they received a tour and a special visit from former RHS students that shared their college experience with the students.

“All the schools gave us tours,” stated Garcia. “This gives each school an opportunity to really explain why students should consider their school and the benefits of attending there. We arrived early to allow the students time to visit the bookstore and have lunch or breakfast and get a real feel for college life at those schools.”

During their visit to UCLA, college student Katie Searway who was a former RHS student shared her personal experience with the group. While they were at CSU Long Beach they spent some time in a classroom and were given a presentation on the requirements to get into the college and learned about topics including financial aid, scholarships, and special programs.

“The schools CAMP (College Assistance Migrant Program) recruiter was the person who organized the presentation and tour,” added Garcia. “Mikayla Flores, former RHS student, met with the group there and talked about her personal experience attending Long Beach but also told the students that they were lucky to be able to have the opportunity to visit colleges because in high school she also went on a college tour like his one and that’s how she ended up at CSU Long Beach.”

After spending some time at UCLA they moved on to the happiest place on earth, as they made their way to Disneyland to spend a few hours there.

When asked about a standout moment during the field trip, Garcia expressed that meeting the former students at the college campuses was a highlight, noting that it really gave the students a positive outlook and reality of attending college.

“They really reinforced the importance of grades, volunteering to help their applications stand out, said Garcia. “Most importantly how affordable college is if you do your homework and apply for scholarships.”

The College Readiness Grant provided the funds to take the students on the field trip which was created to increase the number of students that enroll in college and receive a degree within four years.

“Many of our students apply and get accepted to schools they haven’t visited,” explained Garcia. “If you haven’t visited it’s difficult to know if that is the right choice for you. Choosing a college is hard enough, so you really need to know and experience it before you make a choice.”