Alexandria, VA – For more than a decade, ACPS has partnered with George Mason University (GMU) on a mission to support first generation college-goers on a path to higher education. The GMU Early Identification Program was developed to bolster the numbers of students continuing with their studies from historically underrepresented groups.
From eighth grade onwards, each cohort receives additional academic and mentoring support, without which college may feel unattainable.
All ten seniors this year – six female, four male – are on track for college, having been awarded a wealth of scholarships between them. Each received some kind of academic, athletic or need-based scholarship.
Four were offered full-tuition scholarships and one an Honors College award. One received a full academic scholarship to UVA another awarded a soccer scholarship to Richard Bland University. Seven of the ten also received a Scholarship Fund of Alexandria award.
ACPS EIP coordinator, Jodie Peters, said their success was the culmination of hard work, focus, commitment, and belief in self.
“I have seen this cohort through since their acceptance as 8th graders. They are an amazing group of very bright, hardworking, and driven young adults who will continue to inspire other first-generation college-goes seeking the same possibilities.”
Peters continues, “I am so proud of them – they sing in the show choir, create through culinary, lead and advocate through various clubs, volunteer at sites across Alexandria, and they participate in varsity sports. They are EIP rock stars.”
Vanessa Alvarez, Trinity Battle, JeanPaul Corrales, twins Mahmoud and Mohamed Elarag, Joaquin Evans, Aiman Hamid, Karina Martinez, Amy Oliva Ordornez and Mikaela Pozo all deserve congratulations for their commitment to their studies and college acceptances.
Of the ten, seven grew up in a household in which English is a second language, nine of ten are bi-lingual. All are minority, non-white, and eight were born outside of the United States.
They have given up every summer, countless Saturdays and many evenings to attend mandatory activities to complete the program. Nine of the ten have GPA’s of 3.3 or higher, with five of them angling for a final 4.0+ by graduation.
Their commitment to the demands of the program and their focus on their goal has been “awe-inspiring,” said Peters.
Currently, ACPS has 60 students in grades 8 through 12 in EIP. Due in large part to a grant through the City of Alexandria, ACPS has been able to expand their cohort acceptance and double in size over the past two years.
“EIP is a game changer for families and students realize it once they see the perks of being on a college campus, said Peters.
“It’s a huge social emotional learning experience and truly builds character in first generation students who have been dreaming about college and finally begin to see the reality and possibility for themselves.”