Regional College Access Center

Student Testimonials

Naomi "Hope" Lee - Brown University

In the sixth grade I began my education in the Sunnyside Unified School District. Coming from a parochial school the culture was drastically different and made me feel lost until I found out about the AVID program. Although my mom tried to prepare me for college early on, her knowledge was limited. The AVID program, a college readiness program, gave me insight on what college would be like and the tools I should use in order to be successful in college. Through the AVID program I was introduced to a program called TRiO Educational Talent Search which brought together students whose financial situations at home were similar to mine, but were still determined to go to college. As I entered high school I continued my involvement with these programs and was assigned to a counselor named Belinda Stevens. Ms. Stevens went out of her way to give me as much information possible on how to receive scholarships, and what would make me appealing to admissions' boards so I could be accepted to the best colleges.

Being born with an auditory birth defect always challenged me in the classroom, and once I became a high school student it became more difficult. All of my classes were large causing it to be difficult for me to hear and therefore understanding the information being taught. Very soon into the ninth grade Sunnyside became my home, I would go to school early so I could talk to teachers alone about the curriculum, then during my AVID class ask the tutors for as much help as possible. I would stay after school as long as I could before I would have to go to practice or club meetings. Having a disability challenged me, but I was raised that if I wanted something I had to chase after it. Nothing in life was going to be given to me, and excuses would not be accepted. That being said, I wanted to go to the top colleges, and this meant I had to have the top grades. Approaching Senior year I became nervous and wondered if what I had done would allow me to be admitted into the colleges of my dreams. After applying to eight colleges and anxiously waiting their decisions, my mom and I decided we should go to a college fair that was being held at school. This is where we came in contact with the Metropolitan Education Commission. We spoke to David Rodriguez at the RCAC and set up a meeting with him where he began to walk us through the financial process. I started submitting my forms to the University of Arizona until I received a letter stating Brown University would be awarding me a scholarship to attend. This is when I changed my decision and committed to Brown. The process was not over and Mr. Rodriguez took the reins on what to do next. He helped me with the very meticulous aspects that come with starting college. As a result of my positive experiences with the RCAC, I decided to spend this summer as an RCAC intern.

Naomi: "After applying to eight colleges and anxiously waiting their decisions, my mom and I decided we should go to a college fair that was being held at school. This is where we came in contact with the Metropolitan Education Commission."