Saturday, June 13, 2009

180 Latino, LAUSD Seniors Receive Nearly $1 Million in Project GRAD Los Angeles College Scholarship

LAUSD Superintendent Ramon Cortines celebrates with 400 supporters to honor the Project GRAD LA college scholarship recipients.

June 10, 2009

In a time of shrinking budgets and graduation rates, 180 Project GRAD Los Angeles Scholars from the San Fernando High School (SFHS) graduating class of 2009 are not only graduating from high school, but they are also earning a scholarship and enrolling in college. Supporters of the successful program were proud to announce that one third of this year's San Fernando High School's graduating class were Project Grad receipients.

"I am thrilled that so many students will graduate from San Fernando High School with our college scholarship," commented Ford Roosevelt, Project GRAD Los Angeles President and CEO.

"The impact of these students returning from college to their communities and families will be nothing short of profound."

These students were recognized at a banquet at the Odyssey Restaurant Sunday. LAUSD Superintendent, Ramon Cortines congratulated them and praised the program. The luncheon celebrated the Scholars who completed the requirements for Project GRAD Los Angeles college scholarships of up to $6,000 each, totaling nearly $1 million.

The 2009 Project Grad receipients marks the seventh class to graduate from San Fernando High School. Currently, there are over 500 Project GRAD Scholars enrolled in college and nearly 200 who have graduated from college.

Nearly all of the scholars are Latino and many of them have overcome incredible challenges to graduate from high school and earn the scholarship. With the aid of Project GRAD, approximately 90 percent of these students will be the first in their families to go to college. This compares to data reported by the Civil Rights Project at Harvard University. In the LAUSD, where 71 percent of students are Latino, only 39 percent of Latino high school students graduate and only 20 percent of Latino students complete California's A-G college prep requirements.

The Project GRAD scholarship program requires that scholars graduate from San Fernando High School within four years with a grade point average of 2.5 or higher, complete college prep courses (A-G requirements), complete two College Institutes, graduate with a "C" or better in Algebra II, and enroll in an accredited college within one year of graduation from high school. In the 9th grade, the scholars and their parents signed a "Scholarship Agreement" with Project GRAD Los Angeles that outlined what they needed to do to earn a college scholarship of up to $6,000.

When students enter San Fernando High School in the 9th grade, every student is eligible to become a Project GRAD Scholar. Over 1,000 volunteers walked to 9th grade homes during the annual "Walk for Success" in October to sign up students for the Project GRAD Los Angeles scholarship program.

Project GRAD Los Angeles is an innovative early college outreach program that works with Kcollege teachers, administrators, parents, community leaders, and businesses to increase the number of students entering and succeeding in college. The mission is to ensure a quality public school education for all at-risk children in economically disadvantaged communities so that high school graduation rates increase and graduates are prepared to enter and be successful in college. The goal of Project GRAD is to create a "college-bound culture" where at least 80 percent of students graduate from high school and 50 percent of graduates enter college.

Project GRAD works with 13 LAUSD schools and has a total student population of nearly 18,000.Approximately 97 percent of students are Latino and 50 percent of these students are Limited English Proficient.

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