May 13, 2021, will be a day that will go down in history for Guadalupe Centers High School (GCHS). That evening, 5 of our seniors graduated from MCC Penn Valley with their Associate’s Degree as part of the Early College Program (ECP). The Early College Program was started in 2008 through a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, when our high school was 1 of 12 schools nationwide within the UnidosUS network to be selected to implement the program. The mission of ECP is to provide an opportunity for low income first generation high school students to participate in the rigor of being college students while earning high school and college credits on a college campus. Students are given the care and support needed to meet high expectations and be prepared for the early college experience of completing college courses during their junior and senior years. The ultimate goal is for GCHS students to graduate with their high school diploma, an industry certificate, or a significant amount of college credits up to an associate’s degree.
A 2019 research study from the American Institute of Research on the impact of Early College Programs showed the following key findings:
- Early College students were significantly more likely to enroll in college than comparison students.
- Early College students were significantly more likely than control students to enroll in college each year between the fourth year of high school and six years after expected high school graduation.
- Early College students were more likely than control students to complete a postsecondary degree each year between the fourth year of high school and six years after expected high school graduation.
There are many other benefits we have found in particular for our high school students. Earning college credits in high school reduces the financial barrier to college for many of our students making it more attainable to complete a degree.
We would like to recognize, honor, and congratulate the following GCHS seniors for being the first to not only graduate with a high school diploma, but also with an Associate’s Degree from MCC Penn Valley, and in the middle of a global pandemic nonetheless.
- Jimena Davila
- Jonatan Morales
- Lessly Pardo
- Daniel Ramirez-Hernandez
- Norma Villegas
This is an amazing accomplishment for these seniors and a historic moment for our school!