The Skills to Succeed

By: Daisy Del Real

It was a great privilege and honor being part of Generation First Degree- Pico Rivera(G1DPR) programs: Be A Leader and The College Blueprint. These college bound workshops enabled me to grow both personally and professionally by helping me develop valuable skills that will help me in achieving my desired career. G1DPR is a great opportunity for first generation college students to reach academic success by preparing and ensuring a smooth transition to college.

By being part of G1DPR, I was able to develop interpersonal skills and learn how to network, which are important skills to have as a college student. I have found these skills to be an essential part of college, not only as a way of ensuring academic success but also as a way of making college a fun experience.

I am currently an undergraduate student at California State University, Fullerton (CSUF). I am majoring in Biology and my ultimate goal is to work in the medical field.

With the skills that G1DPR helped me develop, I’ve become a better and stronger student. Now, I’m that student that seeks help and signs up for and attends teacher’s office hours, as well as many other helpful programs that are offered on campus, such as supplemental instruction.

Networking and interpersonal skills have been my asset as I make my way through college. I am extremely grateful to have had such a wonderful opportunity of being part of G1DPR. I am thankful to Jacki and Gilbert Cisneros for their wonderful educational campaign because with it, they are enforcing the importance of going to college and making the transition from high school to college a smooth one for all the students in Pico Rivera homes. This has made all the difference.


The Class of 2017 has the ”Write” Stuff to Apply to College

By: Marla Kelley, Director of Communications – The College Blueprint

What a great outcome we’ve had this year. El Rancho High School’s Class of 2017 joined The College Blueprint this summer for our highly anticipated summer essay program.

The students spent the three days of the program in the essay workshop, brainstorming one on one with their coaches, then writing, editing and finalizing their personal statements. In addition, our College Counselor Tavy Tung-Murphy and College Counselor and Academic Coach, Sahar Zandi, worked with them on finalizing their college lists, and provided them information on the application process and on financial aid and scholarship resources.

In total we worked with 40 students this summer. Our group of students grasped the writing process very quickly. They did so well that I will be adding them to my collection of El Rancho stories and will be using them as future examples.

Our returning essay coach was Jordan Kelley – this was his third year in this program and he always says it is his favorite and that it’s the most rewarding. He leaves with the stories of these students embedded in his heart.

New essay coaches to the program this year were Gabrielle Elias and Sheila Silver. They both brought some amazing talent. Gabrielle is a 2015 graduate with a degree in English from Cal Berkeley and Sheila Silver is a retired English teacher and former California Teacher of the Year. They were touched by the stories and loved the enthusiasm of these students.

The summer days went by quickly. As we were still working on the last essays right up till the last day it felt a little anticlimactic when we said goodbye. As always, we felt close to the students we worked with and we’re looking forward to following up with them to learn where they decide to finally apply and where they get accepted.

There is something very special about the El Rancho kids and this group was no different. All in all, I think the experience was well received by everyone; the students left with a list and a personal statement and a lot of optimism about the application process!

I remain honored to be a part of this program, which I hold near and dear to my heart; I truly appreciate the opportunity to work with El Rancho High School’s rising seniors each year. Having already met the enthusiastic, standing-room-only members of the class of 2018, I’m guessing next summer’s program will prove equally rewarding.