A Pathway to College Town Hall is Around the Corner

I often speak with parents who say they wish they had started helping their children prepare for college, much earlier on. Navigating the pathway to college can be overwhelming for families.

What I know for sure is that education is knowledge and knowledge is power. If given the tools, resources and information needed, students and their parents will not only have the ability to prepare early on, but they will gain a competitive edge in the process.

We invite you to join us at our 4th Annual Town Hall on Thursday, March 10, 2016, from 6pm-8:30pm in the new Gym at El Rancho High School. This year’s theme will be: “A Pathway to College,” and will be geared toward middle school and high school students. You will learn more about free college access programs such as Generation 1st Degree-Pico Rivera’s “Be A Leader” program, the Early Academic Outreach Program (EAOP), and The College Blueprint.

El Rancho Unified School District will also be featuring information on new and innovative learning pathways available through specific ERUSD programs. Come learn about Project Lead The Way, AVID, Seal of Biliteracy, Tri-Cities ROP, Google CS First, the El Rancho High School College and Career Center, and hear from the Parent Engagement Groups.

We hope to see you there!


Don Notes: College Wisdom and Encouragement from Former Dons

Hello from Brown University!

I’m having the greatest experience out here on the East Coast. I’m currently a junior at Brown, and majoring in Public Health and Pre-Med studies. I’m constantly amazed at how much there is left to explore and learn. I volunteered as a nutrition teacher at a local high school, worked as a Spanish interpreter at a free clinic, and met some of the most amazing people from all over the country and world. Can’t wait to see more ERHS students graduating and doing amazing work. Keep going strong back at home. You got this.

Gerardo Arteaga: ERHS‘13, Brown University ‘17

Hello my fellow Dons,

I graduated from ERHS about two years ago and came up to Northern California where I am now an undergrad at UC Davis, pursuing a double major in Sociology and Chicano/a Studies. Even though college, and adapting to living life on your own as an adult is a little tough, I am honestly having the time of my life. I’m doing things I would never have imagined myself doing.

I just wanted to wish you all my best on continuing to work hard through this school year, especially my seniors back home who are anxiously awaiting more admission letters (keep hanging in there guys). I can’t wait to hear of any future Aggies in the house and of all the other amazing places you all will go!

I promise that all of your efforts and dedication now will pay off later. Do not give up and continue to work hard. Most importantly, “BLEED BLUE!!!”

Jasmin Salazar: ERHS Class of ‘14, UC Davis ‘18

Dear El Rancho Students,

You can do this. High school can be very challenging at times due to things like AP tests, the SAT, the ACT, and filling out applications for colleges/universities, scholarships, and financial aid. I understand the stress from homework, projects, midterms, and finals. Despite these difficulties, I hope you all are having a relatively pleasant academic year.

I’m writing this “Don Note” to you from the library at Cal Poly Pomona, where I’m currently studying Aerospace Engineering. I’m not writing this note to tell you that it’s going to get easier (because it isn’t), but to tell you that everyone of you is capable of pursuing a college education if you truly set your mind to it.

Be determined. Best of luck.

Martin Alcala, ERHS Class of ‘14, Cal Poly Pomona ‘18

Hello Dons,

I’m currently a sophomore at Yale University. I graduated from El Rancho in 2014 and I’m so thankful to ERHS and the Generation 1st Degree – Pico Rivera program for helping me get here. I often think back on high school and realize how different it was and how much my view of the world has changed since then. To current El Rancho students, I encourage you to do well and love and appreciate every little thing you learn, both in and out of the classroom. If you get the chance to go somewhere new for college, try to meet and interact with as many different people as possible, as this helps you grow and understand people in general and it’s great. Also, don’t be afraid to pursue a career path you love and strive for your happiness above all.

Rubi Macias: ERHS Class of ‘14, Yale University ‘18

Hello Dons,

I’m currently attending UC Irvine. I think one of the greatest things that an individual can do is to get an education. This is my last year at UCI and I will soon be starting a new adventure by attending law school. This has been one of the best experiences of my life. I had to go through obstacles, just as I’m sure you Dons will go through, but one should never give up. The outcome at the end of this journey will pay off. Take advantage of the resources that Generation 1st Degree – Pico Rivera and El Rancho High School offer, be involved and keep up the good work.

Bryan Perez: ERHS Class of ‘12, UC Irvine ‘16


Gratefully Paying it Forward

While I had already graduated from El Rancho High School before G1DPR had established any programs, I was in the first group of El Rancho students to receive the Cisneros’ Hispanic Scholarship Foundation scholarship. Through the Cisneros family’s generosity, I was able to afford my books, transportation to and from Yale, and winter gear to keep me warm.

More important than even financial security, G1DPR has given me two new role models. Jacki and Gilbert Cisneros have challenged me to rethink what it means to be successful, helping me recognize my roots and inspiring me to commit myself to public service.

I am currently a senior at Yale University studying Latin American history and politics. My academic interests include social movements, subaltern history, and radical pedagogy. I have recently accepted a job offer through Teach For America and will be teaching special education in Los Angeles after graduation. I will also be enrolling in a Master’s program in Urban Education at Loyola Marymount University.

After teaching for a few years, I hope to continue my career in education at the state or federal level. I am also considering working with non-profits. I am passionate about equity in education and I am dedicated to closing the opportunity gap for black and Latino youth. I will do anything and everything in my power to make a difference.