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RHS Latino program helps students prep for college

By Alicia Inns
Published On: Feb 19 2014 09:09:35 PM CST

NewsChannel 21's Alicia Inns talks with students and teachers of the Avanza Program at Redmond High School, prepping Latino kids for college.

REDMOND, Ore. -

It's a high school class, with a college mentality.

"We wanted to target students who are uneasy about the concept of college," said COCC College Prep Instructor Willan Cervantes.

Cervantes wants to let these Latino students know that college doesn't have to be scary -- it's achievable.

The Avanza program was created to do just that.

"COCC is making a great effort in Central Oregon to attempt to reach out to this demographic that does struggle in a regular school system," Cervantes said Wednesday.

For students like junior Mayra Morales, this five-week program is a way to help her reach her goals.

"He's going to show us leadership skills and get ready for college," Morales said. "I'm thinking about being a dental hygienist or something to do with babies, but I'm not sure yet."

Over the past four years, Latino enrollment in Oregon public schools has grown by 15,000 students, and a record number of Latino students are finishing college.

"All of us in here are really thankful for it," Morales said of the program. "We look forward to class and everything."

A class not only to prepare, but to overcome barriers.

"I think it's really nice, because not a lot of people get the same opportunity and this is giving the opportunity to people who otherwise wouldn't go for it," said sophomore Alex Zendejas. "It really makes everyone have a go get it attitude."

After completing the program, the students at Redmond High will have the opportunity to earn half a college credit.

For more info on the Avanza program, visit http://www.cocc.edu/multicultural/avanza/

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