When Jorge Reyes Salinas was 10, his parents cobbled together enough money to leave Peru to start a new life in Los Angeles. They wanted a better future for their only son, who thought he was going to Disneyland.
Reyes Salinas didn’t understand what his lack of legal status meant until, as a sophomore in high school, he was encouraged to enroll in advanced classes at a local community college. The forms asked for a Social Security number, which he did not have.
State support made it possible for him to attend the one university he applied to: Cal State Northridge. Because he couldn’t qualify for any federal financial aid, he went by bus to a machine shop after class each day and worked 30 to 40 hours a week.
Phillipa Villalobos, a senior at Grossmont Middle College High School, describes her experience taking college courses while in high school.
My teeth chattered as I reluctantly joined the crowd, desperately trying to read the buildings and find my class. My heart was waiting to stop at the ring of a bell that would inform me I was late, but a bell would never come. Although I was 16 and starting my junior year of high school, it was actually my first day of college.
The previous spring I had decided to apply to a Middle College program where 11th and 12th graders attend a community college to fulfill both high school and college credits simultaneously, with the exception of two mandatory high school classes that were held on the college campus and essentially the core of the program. The program has not only saved me money on AP and IB tests while offering college credit, but it has also served as a great transition to gain experience and confidence in college classes and communicating with college professors and staff.
— Phillipa Villalobos, Grossmont Middle College High School, El Cajon
Ethan Hirschberg, a sophomore at San Dieguito Academy, writes about his experience with autism.
Yesterday, I had a small panic attack.
I was so upset that my heart was racing. I realized that my second year of high school started in three short days. I have been keeping track of how long I have left in summer for a few weeks now, but this time the harsh reality sunk in.