Crenshaw students talk with leaders from UC system
College is for you, officials tell them
More than 100 Crenshaw High School students and parents had the opportunity to hear directly from UCLA admissions and financial aid officials and to get personal advice on achieving their college dreams at a special Oct. 22 assembly and resource fair at the South Los Angeles campus.
The event was part of Achieve UC, a University of California systemwide initiative designed to inspire students from historically underserved high schools to aim for and apply to college and to equip them with the information and resources they need to get there.
“No matter your race, no matter where you come from, no matter how much money you have, college is for you,” Youlonda Copeland-Morgan, UCLA’s associate vice chancellor for enrollment management, told the crowd in her keynote speech.
Copeland-Morgan, herself a Crenshaw High graduate and first-generation college student, challenged the young people to dream big and envision themselves as college graduates. But she reminded them that it will require hard work.
“I’m not going to candy-coat it for you,” she said. “At UCLA, our expectations are high—very high. But the hard work and effort you are putting into school right now will pay off, because a college education is the surest pathway to opportunity and to full participation in the American Dream.”
Since its launch on Oct. 18, Achieve UC has brought chancellors and senior leadership from every UC campus as well as the UC Office of the president to high schools across the state, reaching more than 10,000 students. The effort gives students the chance to meet directly with UC advisers who can help explain application requirements, assess students’ preparedness for college and reassure them that there is a spot in the UC system for any qualified person who wishes to attend.
UCLA Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Janina Montero and Director of the UCLA Financial Aid Office, Ronald Johnson, were also on hand at Crenshaw to offer advice and encouragement.
Johnson reassured students that his job is to assist families in every way possible so that finances do not become a barrier to college, particularly for low- and middle-income students.
In addition to Cal Grants and federal Pell Grants, Johnson said, the University of California has a program called the Blue and Gold Opportunity Plan, which guarantees that students won’t have to pay a penny of tuition if they qualify for financial aid and their family income falls below $80,000 a year.
Following the presentations by the UCLA speakers, students and parents had an opportunity to ask the officials questions on a variety of topics, ranging from the depth and breadth of majors offered at UCLA to the number of student clubs on campus.
The event also featured a college resource fair that included representatives from UCLA, UC Santa Cruz and several academic preparation programs.
Crenshaw High School digital and gaming team members Dominic Wilks, left, and Kevin Rivera, right, demonstrate the new app the group created for the Windows 8 App store to teacher and leadership instructor Jacqueline Lopez. The team has become the first group in the Los Angeles Unified School District to design, certify and release a game in the store, and they introduced “Going Bananas for Health” at the Century Plaza March 22.
The focus of the proposed three magnet programs at Crenshaw High School have been selected, and now the process is under way to hire three instructional specialists, each of whom will oversee one of the magnets.
Interested stakeholders from the community and school can obtain more information about these activities during a coffee-with-the-principal session scheduled for March 23 at 10 a.m. at Crenshaw. This will be followed by a meeting between the principal and parents and guardians of special education students only at 11:30 a.m.
The Los Angeles Urban League is accepting applications for four $5,000 scholarships sponsored by Mattel, and the deadline to submit a packet is Monday March 25 at 5 p.m.
There are three open-ended scholarships of $5,000 each, and another one for the same amount specifically targeting students at Crenshaw High School.
Contact Nailah Lee for complete details at, 3450 Mount Vernon Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90008 or (323) 299-9660 ext. 2208.
Accusing the Los Angeles Unified School District of destabilizing their school, parents, students, teachers and community stakeholders at Crenshaw High have joined a national coalition of activists from 18 cities across the nation to take their case to the United States Department of Education and Congress.
Standing behind their stated goal of improving the academic outcomes of students at Crenshaw High School, the Los Angeles Board of Education Tuesday voted to transform the South Los Angeles high school into three individual magnet schools.
The decision was made despite pleas from parents, students and community stakeholders who trekked to the school board to voice their concern that changing Crenshaw’s structure would actually be harmful rather than helpful.