Small Prep Program Delivers Big Results

Posted by on May 19, 2013 in News | 0 comments

Our Highland Park Family Resource Center has a history of helping area teens land at top-tier universities – often with full-ride scholarships; this year is no exception, with students headed to Harvard, USC, UCLA and other standout schools.

“Hathaway-Sycamores really gave me the start on my road toward college,” says Valentino Gonzalez, referring to Hathaway-Sycamores’ Learning Lab. That road has since led Gonzalez to the nation’s most prestigious university – Harvard – where he will start his freshman year this fall, accompanied by a full-tuition scholarship.

Learning Lab Program Manager Simon Gee, Valentino Gonzalez and Hathaway-Sycamores Mabel Ramirez

Learning Lab Program Manager Simon Gee, Valentino Gonzalez and Hathaway-Sycamores’ Mabel Ramirez

Gonzalez, who is graduating from Highland Park’s Franklin High on June 7, credits the Family Resource Center’s free, SAT prep course with bolstering his scores to the 97 percentile. (The Resource Center, which is located at 840 N. Avenue 66, is offering a free, four-week, SAT prep course starting July 8. Interested students should call (323) 257-9600 or e-mail Simon Gee .) Gonzalez also participated in community-improvement projects as a member of the Resource Center’s Youth Leadership Council – an activity he says strengthened his college applications.

Like Gonzalez, four other area students credit the Family Resource Center – and particularly its Manager Simon Gee – for making their college dreams a reality:

• Silvia Morales, who is graduating on June 7 from El Sereno’s Wilson High School, will be attending the University of Southern California. Morales notes, “I was accepted to 13 schools. I would not have gotten this many acceptances if I had not taken the SAT prep course at Hathaway-Sycamores.”

• Denise Peralta, who also is graduating on June 7 from El Sereno’s Wilson High School, is headed to the University of California, Los Angeles. Commenting on the Family Resource Center, Peralta says, “Hathaway-Sycamores offered me free SAT prep, helped me with my personal statements, and provided me with information as well as advice on college and finances. They played a major role in helping me achieve my college acceptances.”

• Melina Alonso, who is graduating from Highland Park’s Franklin High on June 7, has been accepted to the University of California, Irvine. “Since last summer,” Alonso explains, “Hathaway-Sycamores helped me prepare not only for the SAT, but also for my AP calculus test. The Family Resource Center has been so helpful in providing a place for me and my younger brother to study.”

• Christina Iglesias, who lives in El Sereno and just graduated from Glendale High School, will soon be headed to Michigan to start her freshman year at Kalamazoo College. “Hathaway-Sycamores opened my horizons when it came to getting a better education,” says Iglesias. “The Family Resource Center helped me with scholarship opportunities that I didn’t know existed. Without their help, I probably wouldn’t be going to Kalamazoo this fall.”

Christina Iglesias and Hathaway-Sycamores Learning Lab Program Manager Simon Gee

Christina Iglesias and Learning Lab Program Manager Simon Gee

Under Gee’s tireless direction – he can be found at the Family Resource Center six days a week and often well into the night – the Center has set numerous area disadvantaged students on a path to college acceptance. Here’s just a sampling of the Family Resource Center’s impact:

• Students who’ve completed the Center’s SAT prep course improved their scores – on average – by 21 percentage points;

• By the conclusion of the 2012/2013 school year, Family Resource Center students had earned $467,000 in scholarship funding;

• When they initially come to the Center, many students are on the verge of completely failing out of school. By contrast, over the course of the 2012/2013 school year, virtually all Resource Center students improved by a minimum of one grade level, with some improving by as much as four grade levels.

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