SANTA MONICA—Santa Monica High School and Malibu High School freshman and their parents attended the information session for the Young Collegians program last week that was held at Samohi to gather information about making the possibility of going to college a reality.

According to a press release from Gail Pinsker from the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District, the program was started in 2008 and is in collaboration with the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District and Santa Monica College, to help students (many the first in their families) to go to college. Over 100 students have graduated from the program and 62 more are on the path to “make college graduation a reality.”

The aim of the program is to ensure that by the time they graduate high school they will have at least 14 college units that can be transferrable to SMC or other four-year universities.

Samohi junior Luis Ramirez (Hernandez), who is part of Young Collegians cohort 7, spoke to the students about his journey through the program. “It was an honor to speak to students who are just like I was two years ago. Students who will be motivated by the guidance and support Young Collegians provides to follow their dreams and goals,” Ramirez said. “I saw reflections of myself in that room and know they will go on to be successful.”

The program which is funded by the Santa Monica College Foundation and SMMUSD, and coordinated by Rosa Serratore from SMMUSD and Maral Hyeler of SMC, students who partake in the program will be able to take a variety of courses during each summer with assistance and support from SMMUSD and SMC professors and staff.

“This collaboration was conceived to open the world of college for students who may not have had the dream to attend college, nor the where-with-all to make this dream a reality,” Serratore said. “We are all so proud of our graduates and students now in the program, as they are ahead of their peers and have gained a great deal of confidence in the process.”

Nineteen of the students who graduated from the Young Collegians program last May are now in attendance SMC, other community colleges and some four-year universities that include: UC Berkeley, Emerson College, Cal State Northridge, UC Riverside, San Jose State, and other universities across the country.

Every July the program celebrates accomplishments of students in the three cohorts taking classes over the summer.

Young Collegians cohort 7 graduate Emily Colon, now at UC Berkeley studying chemical engineering said, “The YC program has provided me with the resources and sparked the motivation that I needed in order to succeed. To have dreams means nothing without knowing how to get there or wanting to work to get there. YC gave me the extra push that I needed.”