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Los Angeles high school students team with community groups in new UC Berkeley outreach program
17 May 2000

By Janet Gilmore, Media Relations

Berkeley - A new University of California, Berkeley, outreach program is showing high-achieving Los Angeles public high school students from disadvantaged backgrounds that Interstate 5 is not the only road to UC Berkeley.

Twenty Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) students who have overcome significant challenges in their lives will participate in the new program - the Incentive Awards Pre-collegiate Academy - that provides them with intensive academic preparation, leadership training, community service and the opportunity for full scholarships to UC Berkeley.

"UC Berkeley is delighted to offer these outstanding students from LAUSD an opportunity to realize their potential," said Genaro Padilla, UC Berkeley vice chancellor for undergraduate affairs.

On Monday (May 22), several of these students will participate in a press conference at the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund offices in downtown Los Angeles. (See attached note for details.) The press conference kicks off the community service aspect of this joint outreach program of UC Berkeley and the LAUSD.

"We welcome UC Berkeley as a partner in providing academics, leadership, and scholarship support for talented students in 20 of the LAUSD high schools," said Ramon Cortines, the school district's interim superintendent.

The goal of the program is to prepare high school students for admission to UC Berkeley.

In summer of 1999, the 20 Los Angeles students completed an intensive, six-week session at UC Berkeley. They now are preparing for the new community service aspect of the program: internships with various Los Angeles area organizations and institutions. These groups include the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), Children's Hospital, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, the Sierra Club, and the Shalom Institute Camp. Representatives from these organizations, as well as UC Berkeley and LAUSD, will participate in the press conference.

Those who are admitted to UC Berkeley and enroll there as freshmen for fall 2001 will receive a four-year undergraduate scholarship of $28,000.

The Incentive Awards Pre-collegiate Academy for Los Angeles was established by UC Berkeley in 1999 as an outreach program for socioeconomically disadvantaged students who have shown exceptional commitment to community service. The parents of many of these students never attended college.

Community service work is a longstanding, valued tradition at UC Berkeley, and numerous community outreach efforts have been underway for decades in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Now, UC Berkeley is reaching out to students and communities in the Los Angeles area. Students from Southern California represent about half of UC Berkeley's undergraduates. And more than 50,000 UC Berkeley alumni live in Los Angeles.

With significant private seed funding from numerous individual donors, nearly $4 million already has been committed to support scholarship and program costs for the first three years and to launch an endowment campaign in Los Angeles.

In bringing the Incentive Awards program to Los Angeles, UC Berkeley hopes to make an education at the campus an attainable reality for many more students from disadvantaged Los Angeles communities who show great academic promise and leadership potential.

An example of one of these talented students is Luis Ochoa, a 16-year-old junior at San Fernando High School. Each Saturday morning this winter, Luis taught dozens of parents of students in his high school how to use computers. Using the school's computer lab, he designed the class, organized other student volunteers, and served as lead instructor, teaching the class in both English and Spanish.

Ochoa and all other program participants make a two-year commitment to the program, which begins after their sophomore year in high school and provides an experience that will enhance their admissibility to UC Berkeley and other institutions of higher education.

In the first summer, the program's scholars benefit from an intensive six-week academic program - the Residential Academy - at UC Berkeley. Academic opportunities, public service, leadership training and community building activities are important components of their daily curriculum. In the second summer, scholars participate in the public service internships, for which they receive $1,000 stipends funded by the program's donors.

All students in the program take on extensive public service responsibilities, returning to their high schools to serve as positive role models for younger students and to be catalysts for change in their communities. The Northern California Incentive Awards Program, established in 1992 and funded by over $26 million in private gifts from numerous individuals, foundations and corporations, has had a great impact on its 38 Northern California partner schools.

UC Berkeley Press Conference Details

Date: Monday, May 22
9:30 a.m. - Reception
10 a.m.- Press conference

Location: Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) offices
634 South Spring Street, 11th Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90014
(at the corner of Sixth Street)

Parking: Available next to the MALDEF building

Participants: Genaro Padilla, UC Berkeley vice chancellor for undergraduate affairs Ramon Cortines, interim superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District Luis Ochoa, scholar from San Fernando High School

Organizations represented at the press conference:
American Civil Liberties Union
Boys and Girls Clubs of America
Children's Hospital
Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund
Sierra Club
Shalom Institute Camp

Scholars High School
Melissa Perez Banning
Anabel Perez Bell
Mary Pech Belmont
Ariana Zeno Cleveland
Dominique Harbour Crenshaw
Teresita Alvarez Carson
Kadmiel McAdoo Dorsey
Sendy Ramirez Fremont
Tania Oyuki Guevara Franklin
Eloy Romero Garfield
Arlene Davila Huntington
Teresa Lua Jefferson
Edna Lozano Jordan
Erika Willis Locke
Tamika McDonald Manual Arts
Marycarmen Huertas Monroe
Phillip Loya Roosevelt
Luis Ochoa San Fernando
Rockeen Younger Washington
Georgina Melchor Wilson



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