Catalyst Students Paola Cervantes and Glenda Vargas Motivated Close Friends

Paola Cervantes and Glenda Vargas are two very motivated and successful graduates of Los Altos High School who jointly attended the ALearn catalyst class together four years ago and are now in college. Paola attends Cal State Northridge and Glenda is at Chapman University.

“No one pushed me to attend the class. I’m very self-motivated and plan to be the first generation in my family to go to college” said Paola. Glenda added “I wanted to get a flavor of what high school would be like and to become familiar with the materials.” Neither had transportation to or from school, so they figured out how to take the 6 a.m. bus each morning and return together in the afternoon. From their perspective, it was “quite an adventure” and they found motivation by treating themselves to Jack in the Box each day after class.

The two girls felt the ALearn class prepared them for high school, both from an academic as well as from a social perspective. Glenda shared “before the class, I hated English and now I can write more competitively” and Paola “loved learning different ways to do Math and participating in timed essays”. During College Day, both enjoyed hearing the college students’ different experiences and what it takes to get into college – they even visited the science department and tried to answer the questions as if they were college students. Both found it easy to adapt to high school because of the new friends they had met in class.

Paola and Glenda were both very active during their high school years with tutoring and student government. In their senior year, Glenda became President of the Latino Student Union and Paola, Co-Vice-President. Glenda was one of four students who received an Eagle Award, to recognize excellence in academics, leadership, and school service. She earned a 4.0 in her first semester at Chapman. Paola has been nominated at CSUN for an Undergraduate Student Training in Academic Research award by the Minority Access to Research Careers program. It is designed to improve her preparation for graduate training.

Both Paola and Glenda have been active promoters of ALearn and we thank them for all their support. Glenda will be joining ALearn this summer as a Teaching Assistant.