We’ve got great reason to celebrate this June.
Earlier this month we held our 4th Annual College Summer Send-Off Luncheon. Our luncheon honors our G1DPR graduating and college bound students at El Rancho High School. This event both celebrates this major milestone in our students’ lives and helps to connect these soon-to-be college freshmen with other El Rancho High alumni and university graduates. By bringing them together, they can exchange real world information and college bound students learn what to expect in their upcoming collegiate life.
We were incredibly happy to meet our G1DPR students’ families and celebrate their graduations and accomplishments. It was an excellent afternoon filled with support from friends, families, the school district and the Pico Rivera community as a whole. Not to mention great conversations, fun and lots of great prizes.
The most poignant moments for me were listening to our G1DPR alumni, John Luke Barrios and Monica Ochoa. They both spoke of the challenges they faced as college freshmen, sharing that they both had initial feelings of not belonging on their campuses. Coming from working class family backgrounds, there was much to assimilate to but they have both persevered.
John Luke, a recent Yale University graduate, shared this with our current G1DPR students: “Don’t ever second guess yourself. I spent far too much time my first year at school thinking about how I wasn’t good enough, instead of what strengths I brought to my school. I wish I’d focused on this more. So remember, you’re worthy. We are so proud of you. You’re worthy and you are here for a reason.”
Monica, a sophomore at Notre Dame University, spoke to students about leaning on her parents for support by calling home every week and receiving a multitude of encouragement from them, especially her mom. Her involvement on the university campus has helped her to thrive. She became very involved in several student led Latino groups and even began leading her student group during “Misa,” or Mass, at The Basilica of the Sacred Heart every Sunday. She shared words of encouragement with our G1DPR students. “You’ll soon be talking to people from different backgrounds and places, cultures and languages. You’ll be amazed by all the people you meet there,” she said.
We thank our G1DPR alumni for sharing their college experiences and we applaud the efforts of our current G1DPR students who are staying the course and participating in our college access programs. Thanks to you, each year we get closer to our mission of having a college degree in every Pico Rivera home.