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Nativity Prep Academy Highlights Choices at its Community Success Day
On Saturday, more than 100 students and parents attended a mini-conference, the brainchild of our own Xochitl Alvarez. Community Success Day was designed to help students and families learn about the many opportunities ahead as they move forward in their 11-year journey toward college graduation.
With 15 speakers and eight information tables, participants had their choice of sessions to attend and resources to explore. Dr. Reyes Quezada, Professor and Chair of the USD Department of Learning and Teaching, spoke from both his professional and personal experience, “My own parents went through the whole situation; non-English speakers, immigrants. They made sure you sat down and did your homework, saying if not, you’re going to end up working in the fields like me.” His research in family/school/community involvement underscores the importance of parents’ choices, “that when parents are somehow engaged with their students and their school, their students do much better.”
Parents Learn How to Support their Children on the Path to College
Argelia Perez chose to come and learn how to help her daughter succeed. She was particularly enthusiastic about the morning session with Dr. Rafael Alvarez, MESA Director at San Diego City College. “When he started talking about are you a victim or do you want to succeed? Do you want to be complaining, blaming everybody or do you want to believe in yourself and everything you can do? I love that, I just love it! I’m going to share this with so many friends!”
Parent Javier Trujano shared his thoughts, “It’s a wonderful opportunity for all the parents and the students at Nativity Prep. This school offers to educate us and give us more tools to help our children succeed in their future.” Dr. Quezada was blunt, “You can’t say you can’t go to college because you can’t afford it. The opportunities are there. The funds are there. It’s just a matter of knowing how to access them.” This was news to Ms. Perez, “I didn’t know about all the scholarships that they our children can apply to. There’s a lot of information that I didn’t know. So now I’m happy to come and be a part of all this.”
Mr. Trujano appreciated the steps that students were encouraged to follow and apply to their daily lives. “It’s like a formula to start the culture of learning,” he said. He also felt empowered as a parent, “I like the self-advocacy – work hard and fight for the things that you want. It’s really important to speak up and communicate. It’s key to get all the things you need to be successful.”
Alumna Sharing Experience and Advice
Two of our alumna presented at the event, Johanny, Nativity Prep class of ’08, and UC Santa Cruz class of ’16, and Jessica, Nativity Prep class of ’05, University of Phoenix class of ’14, and currently earning her Master’s degree from Point Loma Nazarene University. The students crowded into their sessions excited to hear from two graduates who were once in their shoes. Mrs. Alvarez was proud to welcome them back. “It’s the biggest highlight for me,” she said. “It’s like a full circle and they’re coming back to give what they have received – giving back to our community.”
While most of Saturday’s participants were current Nativity Prep students or parents, about a third of those who chose to attend were current high school students who graduated from Nativity Prep’s middle school and their parents. Robert, now at High Tech High, came to get a better understanding of how he can be successful in high school and college. He was excited to learn about community college and work study options to investigate. He intends to “apply for all the scholarships and grants I can so that I can have enough to pay for my college tuition.” Helsy, now a freshman at Our Lady of Peace Academy, said “knowing that I have Nativity Prep to support me makes me feel very secure about my future. I could be anywhere else right now but coming here makes me feel more excited for what’s going to come. And since I’m going to be the first in my family to graduate from college, I take that very seriously.”