High school seniors around the state are getting ready to finish up their secondary education and many will head on to college after graduation. Those are two things that have not always been a reality for all students in the state. In Boulder High, a program was established 25 years ago recognizing that Latino students faced significant challenges in their education and were at risk of dropping out.
photo credit: Michelle Carpenter l-r: Jenni Rivera, Laura Ordaz, Stephanie Herrera Ramirez, Frida Aguilar Ximello
Michelle Carpenter, a teacher at Boulder High and the director of the Adelante program, says it is now about supporting students going on to college. “We originally began as a drop out prevention program, because the drop out rate for first generation Latinos was so high. At this point really it’s a college preparatory class where everything we do in the class is what we would do at home with our own children. So what that means is homework help, lots of encouragement, sometimes what we call tough love, for example we’ll go over students grades and missing work once a week so that they know which homework they need to still turn in….we’ll help them do different projects, we have all the technology they need, so really everything they need in order to be successful.”
Carpenter says the bulk of the students are first generation Latinx students “in general it’s students whose parents who’ll say “absolutely education is of paramount importance to our family, and we don’t necessarily know how to coach our students to do that because we haven’t done that ourselves.”‘
Laura Ordaz says her parents are very proud that she’s headed to college, but it’s not a process they’re familiar with, but she’s been able to get the support through the Adelante program. “My parents don’t really know much about it, English is hard for them to speak as well.”
Frida Aguilar Ximello, is considered an Adelante grandbaby as her mother also attended the program when she was at Boulder High, although her mother didn’t ultimately graduate from high school. “I’m the first one to graduate from high school and get into college.”
Jennifer Rivera was new to Boulder High as a sophomore and got connected with the program straight away. “It helped me out a lot because I was able to do homework, print out papers and stuff on line and since I didn’t have that internet access at home, it allowed me to get my grades back up.”
The Adelante! Program at Boulder High School will celebrate its 25th Anniversary by hosting a community reunion April 25 at 6:00 p.m. in the BHS cafeteria. This inclusive event will bring together Adelante! alumni and current students, as well as staff and community partners in celebration of the program’s 25 years of student achievement.