GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – A college readiness program celebrated its first-ever graduating class this morning. And now these “NEW Scholars” are prepared to take on college in the fall.
In an auditorium at NWTC, high school seniors sign college acceptance letters, attaining a goal each has been working towards since 6th grade.
“I’m super excited. This is the closing, where we are getting prepared to go to the next step, which means going to college,” said Jaime Alvarez, who is going to UW-Madison.
But to reach this point each of these students had some help, from family, friends and from a program offered by the non-profit “CollegeReady” called “NEW Scholars” which nurtured them along the way.
NEW Scholars is a college-readiness program helping underserved youth reach their goal of being the first in their family to graduate from college.
“These are students that have the ability and potential, but they don’t necessarily have the resources or the understanding,” said CollegeReady’s Executive Director Brent Roubal.
According to the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, only 40% of economically disadvantaged high school students pursue a degree. But 91% of these graduating new scholars are moving on to college. Roubal says it’s about offering support and removing barriers.
“We help them all the way through their senior year in high school with academic support, character development and parent engagement,” Roubal said.
“They always explained the steps for FAFSA and financial aid and how everything worked and how applying for college worked,” said Jimena Hernandez, who is enrolled at NWTC.
“We worked on reading and writing skills. They’ve helped us in so many areas to be well-rounded students,” Alvarez said.
And now Alvarez gets ready for the fall, the first in his family to go on to college. Just like all these other students – the first graduating class of NEW Scholars.
“Don’t be afraid to join these programs because they will be able to help you along the whole way,” Alvarez said.
CollegeReady was founded in Northeast Wisconsin in 1962. Since that time, they’ve offered tons of support and awarded $12 million in scholarships.