Twelve Kranz Intermediate School Students Inducted into the Partnership Scholars Program
“I am proud, honored and grateful to be in the Partnership Scholars Program. Now college is not just a dream for me, it is a reality.” These are sentiments from Cesar Nunez Frias, a student whose life has been changed by his involvement in the Partnership Scholars Program (PSP) which began for him last year as a seventh grader at Kranz Intermediate School.
For 12 well deserving Kranz seventh graders, a journey similar to Cesar’s began last week as they started their six year journey toward their goal of admission to a four year university as the 2014 inductees into the Partnership Scholars Program (PSP), one of the most successful college-access education programs in the United States. The special ceremony was held for the 12 inductees and their families, and included other Partnership Scholars, all former Kranz students.
PSP’s mission is to provide six years of educational and cultural experiences for academically motivated but economically disadvantaged students, starting in the seventh grade, to promote college access and a lifetime of success. A volunteer, nonprofit program made possible by private donations and business and foundation support, PSP was developed by Dr. Glen Langer as a way to payback the kindness shown to him many years ago by strangers who gave him a college scholarship and made his dream of becoming a doctor a reality. Langer, a retired UCLA medical professor and cardiovascular research lab director, began his personal campaign and the program 18 years ago to prepare seventh graders from low income neighborhoods for college.
As of December 2013, there are over 625 students who have been inducted into PSP, and of the 275 high school graduates, 94% of them are in four-year colleges or graduated from college with an average of over $90,000 in scholarship aid. PSP scholars are attending universities such as Harvard, Duke, UCLA, USC, UC Berkeley, BYU, Stanford, Wellesley, Brown, Occidental, Pepperdine, Cal State Fullerton, UC Irvine, Columbia, Georgetown, Pitzer College, UC San Diego and Loyola Marymount to name a few.
“Congratulations to all the new scholars. We are so proud of you,” said Meg Sanchez, PSP Executive Director. “I encourage you to take advantage of everything the program offers and continue to study hard and never give up on your college dreams. Your mentors and donors are here to help and want you to succeed.”
Kranz’s 12 new inductees were selected from over 150 applicants based on their grade point average, motivation for higher education, supportive home environment and financial need. The program provides the students with mentors and a monetary stipend to be used over the six years on educational enrichment such as extra books, computers, museum trips, concerts, plays, college campus visitations, sporting events, out of state trips and other activities to help them become well rounded individuals with rich cultural experiences.
“Learning outside the formal classroom is essential for every child and exposing students to a variety of educational and cultural enrichment activities and college access guidance is a crucial part of PSP,” said Sanchez. “Every child should have the opportunity to enter and succeed at higher education and they should not be limited by their environment.”
Sanchez commended Kranz teacher, Arlene LeGaspe for her years of dedicated service to PSP and for ensuring that Kranz students continue to benefit from the program.
“Mrs. LeGaspe does an amazing job as the PSP coordinator here,” said Sanchez. “She is the reason the program is so successful at Kranz. We greatly appreciate all her efforts.”
LeGaspe has nothing but pride for the program and the student scholars and loves hearing all the great success stories and seeing lives transformed by PSP.
“It has been incredible to see our former Kranz students attend outstanding universities and reach their dreams. I’m so grateful to Dr. Langer and the Partnership Scholars Program for truly changing the lives of our students,” said LeGaspe. “With the addition of tonight’s inductees we have a total of 94 students from Kranz who have benefitted from the amazing opportunities PSP offers,” she added.
Eduardo Nevarez, a new inductee to the program is looking forward to great times as a scholar.
“I’m looking forward to fun activities with my mentor,” said Nevarez. “I’m excited at what opportunities will come up and one thing I’d like to do is go to the snow. I’ve never seen it or felt it and I hope one of our field trips can be to the snow.”
Fellow inductee, Kimberly Moran, is hopeful one of her trips can be to Washington D.C.
“I’m really excited about traveling and visiting colleges,” said Moran whose ultimate goal is to attend UCLA and study Criminal Science.
Current PSP scholars were on hand to share their experiences in the program and featured their excursions in videos they created. The inductees and their families were happy to see the variety of adventures the students participated in with their mentors including trips to restaurants to experience new foods, trips to museums and amusement parks, college visits, Dodger games, the theater and the beach.
Former Kranz student, and 2011 El Monte High School graduate, Amy Chieng is in her second year at U.C. Berkeley where she is studying Psychology. For Chieng being a PSP scholar allowed her to encounter many first experiences, especially traveling to new places and she is forever grateful to the program for the support and confidence it gave her to apply to college.
Summing up the evening and the extreme benefits of the PSP program, LeGaspe said,
“PSP is not just about the financial assistance to pursue your dreams, but being a Scholar is a life changing experience that will bring you great joy and tremendous opportunities. I encourage all of our scholars to not only dream, but to dream big.” said LeGaspe.