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College is a Reality for Napa Students Participating in a Free Preparatory Program
Posted 2/4/22

By now, most college application deadlines for high school seniors are approaching quickly or have already passed. By all accounts, it will be a competitive year, with applications increasing more than 22 percent over last year, according to recent data from the Common Application. Some families hire expensive college counselors and testing tutors to guide students through the process. And for some fortunate NVUSD students, college and career planning, academic advising, and skills workshops are available to them, free of cost, as a part of the Educational Talent Search (ETS) program sponsored by Napa Valley College.

 

Funded by a federal grant, ETS aims to close the achievement gap by providing students in grades 6th through 12th with essential skill workshops, academic counseling, and one-on-one assistance with the college discovery and application process, including excursions to tour colleges. What makes this program different is its history and long-term commitment to its students. Since 1991, the program has served thousands of students through partnerships with middle schools and high schools in Napa. Through the years, the program intensifies with added time and focus on helping students realize that a college is a viable option for their future.

 

“All of our students have the potential for success; we help them believe in themselves,” said Ramon Salceda, Associate Dean, Educational Talent Search and Student Support Services Programs. Salceda knows firsthand the benefits of ETS, having participated in the program during his years at Napa High in the 1990s. As a first-generation college graduate, his family did not have the tools to assist in the college process. He and his three siblings participated in ETS and graduated from college with advanced degrees. The passion for teaching and learning was in their genes as all returned to work in the education field and attribute their success to the ETS program.

 

In its 30th year, ETS has not slowed down, with approximately 600 students enrolled in the program, including a cohort of 100 current high school seniors. One of those students, Guadalupe Tellez-Rivera, a senior at Napa High, is relieved to have completed all of her college applications and is patiently waiting until the University of California schools release their decisions in March. Guadalupe has been in the ETS program since sixth grade and credits ETS with introducing college opportunities to her early on.

 

“I will be the first in my family to go to college. So I knew little or nothing about the process, and I really had not even given college much thought at all, said Guadalupe. “Over the years, the on-campus workshops that ETS facilitates slowly gave me more information until I was in the college mindset, and I had a clear perspective of what it looked like and what I needed to do to get there.”

 

Ingrid Guerrero-Gonzalez, a Vintage High senior, has also been in ETS since middle school and found her coaches so helpful, especially during the college application process explaining how to navigate fees applications and distinguish between all the different types of colleges. The time and energy spent have paid off as Ingrid has already been accepted to four California State University campuses and is now waiting on decisions from the UC schools. 

“I love learning, and I’m so excited to start a new journey and I’m so thankful to ETS for helping me get here,” said Ingrid. 

 

The ETS program is currently accepting applications from students attending the following five schools, Redwood, Silverado, Harvest, Napa, and Vintage High Schools. Applications can be found here. 

 

Student Pictures