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 Sequoia Adult School Scholars
        Helping adult learners succeed, one semester at a time

Our mission: Sequoia Adult School Scholars provides financial support and assistance to Sequoia District Adult School ESL and GED students--the vast majority of whom have minimum wage jobs--so they can enroll in community college to continue their education and expand their career options.  

Seven SASS Recipients Awarded Cash Scholarships from Community College Foundation 


In addition to providing SASS recipients with funds for books and transportation, SASS helps recipients apply for additional scholarships available to Caņada students from the San Mateo Community College Foundation. For the 2014-15 academic year seven SASS recipients received cash scholarships ranging from $400 to $2,000. Winners were chosen based on grades, community service, and length of time they've attended college.

Four SASS recipients who earned a scholarship  attended Caņada's scholarship event in May. (From left to right: Amado Flores, Moises Bautista, Maria Aguilar, and Maria Anaya-Rodriguez) 

Please help us support the growing number of students who deserve to attend community college or earn a GED!

Spring Event Extends SASS's Reach


This year's spring event, Sampling for Success 2014, focused on introducing more community members to SASS. Close to a dozen SASS recipients were on hand to chat with guests about their goals and why they want to attend college. The event was held at the home of SASS Board member Barbara Sanner.

A highlight of the afternoon was a speech by Stanford Professor Al Camarillo. (See story on right.)

SASS has initiated a tutoring program for SASS recipients who need extra help with their classes, particularly ESL classes. If you'd like to know more, send us an email!

SASS Wins Prestigious Kent Award

In March 2014, SASS received a Kent Award, an honor presented by the San Mateo County School Boards Association to highlight excellence and innovation in schools across San Mateo County.

Attending the awards dinner were (from left to right) Lionel de Maine, Chief Operations Officer, Sequoia District Adult School; SASS recipient Mauro Barrera; SASS recipient Rosa Mendoza; SASS President Elizabeth Weal; and SASS recipient Roxana Elizabeth Chicas.

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SASS Celebrates First Recipients to Earn Certificates from Community College!  


We are thrilled to report that two SASS recipients, Laura Irene Carranza Rodriguez and Maria Anaya-Rodriguez, received certificates at Caņada College's commencement ceremony in May. These completions represent a major milestone for SASS since these students are the first SASS recipients to earn a certificate at community college. Both Laura and Maria received more than $1,000 in SASS scholarships that paid for college text books and transportation to college.


Laura Irene Carranza Rodriguez (Photo credit: GradImages) 
Maria Anaya-Rodriguez 

Laura, who was one of the first two SASS recipients to receive a SASS scholarship in 2010, earned a PASS (Preparation for Academic Scholarship and Success) certificate, meaning that she has completed all of the ESL and English courses necessary to take transfer-level classes--classes that count toward a degree at a four-year college or university. Laura's next step will be to earn a certificate in Early Childhood Education and then an Associates of Science Degree with a major in Early Childhood Education. Laura already has embarked on her career path: In May, she left her job at K-Mart and started work as an assistant teacher at the Redwood City Child Development Program.


Maria, who started attending Caņada College in 2011, received a General Office certificate that will prepare her for a career as an administrative assistant. While many students complete vocationally-focused certificate programs in 12 to 18 months, the addition of a comprehensive suite of college-level ESL classes makes completing certificate programs more time-consuming--and challenging--for ESL students like Maria. In Fall 2013, Maria was one of 515 (out of a total of 6,051 students) to make the Caņada College Dean's List. She will receive her PASS certificate at the end of the summer session. 


We look forward to reporting on many more graduating SASS recipients in coming years!


Stanford History Professor Al Camarillo Champions Educational Opportunity


Speaking at SASS's spring event, Sampling for Success 2014, Stanford History Professor Al Camarillo recounted stories of several Latino youths whose lives were transformed because they seized opportunities presented to them by committed individuals and by organizations like Sequoia Adult School Scholars.

Al Camarillo (Photo Credit: David Moor) 

Camarillo began by relaying some disturbing facts about the state of education among Latinos in the US today, noting, for example, that 41 percent of Latinos age 20 and older don't have a high school diploma (compared to 14 percent of whites) and that only one in ten Latinos who drop out of high school get their GED (compared to one in three whites).


While Camarillo spoke of the need for policy change to address the achievement gap, he said that real transformation only happens when lives are changed one student at a time. Camarillo used himself as an example of how a small non-profit did just that.


When Camarillo, the son of a retired cement worker, was accepted at UCLA, his family couldn't afford to pay for his college. But a $300 scholarship from the Mexican American Political Association, a non-profit that still exists today, came just in time. "It was because of that organization that the world changed for me," Camarillo said. "When you give one person that kind of opportunity, you're not only changing that person's life but also the trajectory of their children and their children's children. And when you start putting those stories together, you start changing communities and localities and finally whole nations."