Student Success Stories
At the age of 19, with only 35 credits on her high school transcript and needing 49 to graduate, Felicia entered Metropolitan Community College's Gateway to College program. After experiencing personal loss, homelessness, family struggles, and being out of school for more than two years, Felicia jumped at the chance to realize her long-forgotten dream of graduating from high school and attending college. In fact, she would say her success in the program began the moment she opened her Gateway acceptance letter. Felicia recalls the feeling when she received the letter, "It made me a lot more optimistic. It made me realize I can achieve my career goals."
Felicia was not only successful at finishing high school but experienced college success as well. While in the Gateway to College program, Felicia compiled a 3.57 GPA, completed 56 college credits, enjoyed multiple quarters on the Dean's List, and successfully completed the prerequisite courses for the Associate of Science in the nursing program. Felicia's outstanding efforts have been noticed outside of Gateway to College as well, as she has been awarded the Bridge Scholarship by the Sherwood Foundation, making her eligible for their Thompson Scholarship this fall.
As Felicia reflects on her time in Gateway, she attributes her success to two factors. "Gateway to College has allowed me to work in a college environment without having to deal with all that high school drama. Plus, the Gateway staff has always been very helpful and encouraging." Felicia graduated with her high school diploma in February 2012.
High school did not work for Anthony, mainly because of family instability and homelessness. He was taken out of parental custody at age nine and placed in a foster home. At age 15, Anthony was kicked out of this home. During the next two years, he stayed anywhere he could, spending a lot of time alone on the street. He did not attend school very much during this time and fell far behind his peers.
In the spring of 2010, Anthony enrolled in Gateway to College at Riverside City College. He was 17 years old and had just over half of the number of high school credits he needed to graduate. Since then, Anthony has earned over 100 high school credits and 25 college units while more than doubling his GPA. "Having this much individual attention and information about resources as well as having the opportunity to earn dual credit has helped keep me motivated," says Anthony. He has balanced diverse working experiences while being a successful student, with positions at Quiznos, Chipotle Grill, and within RCC as a math tutor and in the CTE Department. Anthony was also a guest speaker for the Youth Education and Motivation Program at a local middle school. His final project for Guidance 47 was featured on the Road Trip Nation website.
Anthony will graduate in the Fall of 2012 and plans to continue his studies at RCC and then transfer to a four-year institution to earn his bachelor's degree. His career interests are Fire Technology and Computer Science. "Gateway to College has completely changed my perspective. I now understand how school and my future connect, and I'm optimistic about what lies ahead."
Initially, Chrissnah did well in high school. By her sophomore year, however, her grades were starting to drop and her interest in attending classes drastically changed. While pregnant, her peers bullied her so much she could no longer concentrate and emotionally was at a breaking point, so she decided to drop out. Chrissnah's parents and family disowned her, as a teen pregnancy is an embarrassment to the family's Cambodian culture. Chrissnah moved in with the baby's father and restarted her education. He has been her only support outside of the program, but she isn't about to let any obstacles take away her dreams. "I believe in second chances," she says.
Beginning her journey with 4.5 high school credits, Chrissnah successfully obtained her GED through PCC Prep's Youth Empowered to Succeed program while raising a newborn. Since she enrolled in Gateway to College, she has earned a 3.9 GPA and is consistently on the college's President's list. "I tell myself over and over I want a good education, so my son will see that I am successful. I am so thankful for Gateway."
The first term was the hardest for Chrissnah. Not only was she adjusting to homework, but she was learning how to take care of an infant without family support. Program staff and instructors have become an important source of support. "My resource specialist, Mary Kelley, listens to me, teaches me how to build relationships, and gives me so much emotional support." Chrissnah will graduate in December 2012 with a high school diploma and 44 college credits. She plans to keep attending PCC and major in science or pre-nursing and pursue her career goal to be a midwife and advocate for young mothers.