Friday evening, December 5th, twenty-four of our College Bound students went on a field trip to Cal State Fullerton. The trip began with a scavenger hunt where small groups of students explored the student services building, health center, event center, and even went inside the Humanities department to take pictures in college classrooms. After the scavenger hunt, Breakthrough students attended a panel featuring three current Cal State Fullerton students who are also members of the school’s Hermanos Unidos group: Lazaro Gonzalez, Angel Diaz and Edgar Ruiz. Similar to Breakthrough students, the members of Hermanos Unidos come from low-income, Spanish speaking families and will be the first in their families to graduate from a four year university.
The panel began with the college students answering questions about their experiences being first generation college students and how they got into a four-year college. They encouraged our students to work hard and aim for A’s in their high school classes and to not settle for less. The co-chair of Hermanos Unidos Lazaro Gonzalez advised students to “get involved with programs, go to after-school tutoring to get those good grades because it will help you get into a good school.” Lazaro’s point of view resonates with our program because we offer after-school tutoring twice a week for our College Bound students so they can get help to obtain those A’s and B’s.
During the question and answer portion, BTSJC sophomore Ivan asked, “do you think there is an equilibrium with spending time on academics and extracurricular activities?” Angel Diaz of Hermanos Unidos answered, “Yeah, definitely. Academics always come first, set that in your mind, always put that first. If you have to choose between practice or a big exam that you have to study for like a final or a midterm, go study for that final or midterm.” At the end of the day, students left Cal State Fullerton with greater knowledge of a local four year university and some sound advice from college students with similar background and experiences. Thank you to Lazaro Gonzalez, Angel Diaz, and Edgar Ruiz for taking the time to meet with BTSJC and for sharing your personal and academic experiences.