|| SUCCESS STORIES
We did hear some wonderful stories about young people for whom one adult had made a difference. One young man told us that he had just won a four-year scholarship to one of the campuses of the California State University. In middle school, he had become very interested in music, and his high school music teacher had spotted and nurtured his talent, and helped him apply for the scholarship. A young woman from Tucson talked about how she became inspired by an ongoing work relationship with adults in an advertising agency.
My junior year my teacher forced us to make a career project. You had to job-share with somebody. I've always liked commercials and advertising so I keep my eye out for what is good and what is cheesy. Maybe I would have done that ad, or maybe that slogan doesn't work. So my teacher and I hooked me up with this agency. I've been with them ever since, and that's how I got involved with it. They were so nice to me. They liked my ideas and stuff; I have fresh ideas. I'm kind of like the baby of the agency. It's kind of like off and on, it's not really like a job-job, I just go and listen to what's going on. Sometimes they'll call me in if they need me to translate things or go to different meetings and stuff.
Other students talked about the influence of a parent, or other strong figure in the family. One woman in Tucson described her mother's role this way:
For my brother, it was good enough to graduate from high school, the whole family was proud of him. My sister graduated from high school, and mom pushed her more. She went to a two-year school. So I am her third child, I'm the one that has to go to a four-year college. That doesn't mean she doesn't love us all the same, but that is what she expects of me. I need to get education to improve myself so I can help other people.
It takes a lot, in other words, for a young person to successfully navigate the transition from high school to college. Financial resources are a big part of the equation, of course, but the presence or absence of adult knowledge and support is, if the stories we heard are representative, even more definitive. In the success stories, then, there seemed to be adults who were willing to work with the students over a sustained period. Unfortunately, other students did not have this resource to draw on.