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Ukiah Daily Journal

Article Last Updated: Saturday, July 24, 2004 - 11:00:43 PM PST

To move ahead with Adelante Program

By LAURA CLARK/The Daily Journal

On Thursday, some 75 Mendocino College students in the Adelante Program took their final exams and then cooled off on the hot July day via a water balloon fight.

The students also enjoyed a barbecue and other activities on this last day of the summer program, currently in its 10th year at the local college.

While Adelante -- "to move ahead" -- was designed to accommodate children of migrant farm workers by helping students get the credits they need to graduate high school, many on Thursday said they enrolled in the program just for the fun of it.

"To have fun," Willits High School sophomore Luis Nieto said when asked why he had attended Adelante.

"It's fun," echoed Yareli Hernandez, a freshman at Ukiah High School.

Berenice Segura, also a ninth-grader at Ukiah High, gave several reasons for enrolling in the program, funded by Migrant Education and the college. She said she wanted to take computer careers, but also wanted to meet new people.

"It's really cool ... It's great. We get to play sports," Segura said.

Asked if she'd do it again, she, and a group of students standing around her, all shouted an enthusiastic "yeah."

Kevin Barrales, also a high school freshman, said before Adelante he didn't know how to use computers very well.

Several other students described Adelante as "entertaining," "better than being at home doing nothing," and a way to "learn something and have fun at the same time."

Twenty-three-year-old Omar Zazueta, Adelante project specialist, said when he attended the Adelante program as a Ukiah High student it was a credit deficiency program; now it's more of an enrichment program. Either way, "It's a great program," he said. "It gives young high school students exposure to college classes," he said.

And there is another benefit: High school students earn both college credits and high school credits at the same time for the classes they take via Adelante.

Mendocino College counselor Luz Moreno, 25, of Ukiah, said she took biology in the Adelante program when she was a high school freshman. "What happens here is they take college classes and get high school and college credits, so they are enrolled at Mendocino College as a college student, but they are still in high school.

"The biggest benefit of Adelante is that (students) go to college -- any college ... that they see the role models," Adelante Principal Geri Burrell said. "These students see that the staff who came from the same place that they come from are now successful teachers, counselors, etc.," she said.

The benefits of college are apparently becoming increasingly evident to the young people.

"When I started the program here in 1994, there were only five Latino students; now there are hundreds attending the Mendocino College campuses," Burrell said.

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Created: August 02, 2004 @ 12:00 AM
Last Modified: August 17, 2005 @ 06:50 PM


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