Monday, May 19, 2008

Congratulations Class of 2008, Welcome Class of 2011

Our Annual Step-Up Ceremony (also known as graduation), held on May 16th was a huge success, with many thanks to our staff member Cindy, who organized this fabulous event. In attendance were our 8th grade class (pictured here) leaving us for high school, as well as many other incoming and returning students we are excited about working with next year. In addition, the room was filled with our families and friends, board members, donors, teachers and administrators of our partner schools, as well as our wonderful volunteers who were honored for their commitment to our students and our program.

Special thanks to Synergy School for hosting this event, Laura and Martin for their MC duties, Ivy for speaking about her excitement to start college next year, and all the student speakers. After the excitement was over, our staff returned to a quiet office on Monday, a bit sad that we will not see most of our students until September. However, we are gearing up for our summer program, and we are looking forward to getting to know our incoming 5th and 6th grade students better at Summerbridge.

Till then!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Looking back...

How can it be May already? Here we are sweltering in this 90 degree weather in our office, and our staff is a bit sad we have already ended our 07-08 school year. Tomorrow is our annual step-up ceremony (i.e. graduation ceremony - although we like to celebrate ALL our students "stepping-up" into their new grade and experiences) and we are tremendously excited to honor our 8th grade graduates and welcome our new current 5th grade students into the program.

Looking back through the past 8 months of our after-school program, our staff is highly proud of the accomplishments of our SMART students. Many of you have struggled with new language classes (although most of our students take Spanish, some of you are taking Japanese and French!), adjusting to a new school and social environment, all the while, juggling extra-curricular activities and homework. We are constantly amazed at how hard our students work and we are extremely proud of your motivation and drive for success.

Some of our alumni seniors in high schools have gotten some wonderful news from colleges. We have news of acceptances at Duke University, UC Berkeley, UC Davis, San Francisco State University, Carleton College... and many more. We hope you keep in touch with us as you continue to enrichen your lives with higher education.

However, let's not forget our 8th graders!! After a grueling application process that involves interviews, school visits, essays, SSATs and more - we are so excited about your new school placements and what accomplishments we know you will achieve in these schools.

Special thanks to Jacky and Joanna for their extreme hard work and professional growth as our after-school program interns. Thank you to our volunteer tutors and mentors who kept our students on track and provided much needed guidance and energy. Most importantly, we would like to especially thank the dedication and hard work of our dear own Alvaro Marquez, who will be leaving us to pursue his PhD in Ethnic Studies at University of Southern California in the fall. We will miss him dearly (and so will the students), but we wish you much success in your pursuit of an advanced degree.

Have a fun summer everyone!