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Posted by on in Chula Vista Promise

I had the pleasure of supporting a family recently which made a real difference in the life of the student and the lives of the parents, not to mention the lives of the siblings and other family members. After conversations with schools staff and administrators and the student, I realized the family hadn't applied for free and reduced-price meals since 2010, summer school for 2014 or registered and submitted proof of residency for the 2014-2015 school year. This family qualified for the food resource, the student needed to recover some credits over summer and it is absolutely essential that families register their students and submit proof of residency.

I communicated with the family about the need to set up a meeting. Unfortunately, due to unexpected medical appointments and miscommunication, we weren't able to meet for a few weeks. I will admit that I became anxious and frustrated due to my lack of ability to make positive change in a short amount of time. When the parents were able to come to Hilltop High School and I was present to meet with them, we had an excellent and fruitful meeting.

The parents completed the free and reduced-price meals application and I was able to take it to Nutrition Services at SUHSD and get free meals approved that day. The parents also signed the summer school application and I delivered it to the student's counselor that day. Finally, we started working on the online registration process. After trying to log in too many time, the system locked us out. The Hilltop High School registrar graciously accepted an impromptu meeting and guided the parents through the entire registration process. And by a stroke of brilliance, the mother had brought her file with proof of residency forms to the meeting so she was able to complete that portion too. I hadn't talked to her about proof of residency but she intuited it!

This family exhibits impressive resilience, persistence and patience. My client is finishing 10th grade and will be the first out of 5 older siblings to graduate high school. I am impressed by his tenacity and I feel privileged to work with the wonderful people in his family. While helping him get free meals at school, apply to summer school and be registered for next year, I learned the value of patience. I look forward to sharing updates about his future accomplishments!

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My name is Sophie Vogel and I am the 10th grade Academic Advocate at Hilltop High School. I had the pleasure of taking seven students from my 10th grade cohort, plus two of their friends, to the National College Fair on April 23rd. We left Hilltop High School around 5:30 pm with a group of students from The H.I.L.L. on the bus they had chartered and agreed to share with us. The students all registered before they boarded the bus so we could relax while enjoying attractive views; sunlight reflecting off downtown skyscrapers, San Diego Convention Center by the Coronado Bay and peoplewatching.

Our students split up to look for colleges and universities of interest when we entered the college fair, using a scavenger hunt form to guide their questioning. Each registered participant printed a piece of paper with a barcode on it and were able to ask admissions counselors at different tables to scan their barcode to put them on the school's mailing list. Most of the 10th graders had never been to a College Fair before and may have found the experience slighly overwhelming, as I did. There were over 400 institutions at the College Fair, each with a table, promotional materials and expert college admissions counselfor to answer questions. In addition, students could attend workshops about the college application process.

I am proud of my students for cultivating independence and maturity by taking risks to talk about their academic interests with adults in positions of authority. There were groups of students wearing matching shirts, students whose parents brought them to the college fair to visit with the admissions counselor from their Alma Mater and focused upperclassmen getting business cards as part of a targeted approach to college applications. My students arrived with minimal preparation about college fairs and left with the confidence that their opinions matter and their voices were heard. After all, my students will be the consumers in this industry whose tuition fees determine the direction of the market. I look forward to seeing the improvements my students will be able to make from within their chosen institutions of higher education.

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