Watsonville –The Watsonville chapter of the Ivy League Project is on tour. Twelve students from Pájaro Valley and Watsonville High Schools will visit prominent colleges on the east coast March 24 – 31, 2012.
Students are initially identified as having grade point averages of 3.75 and higher, and come from a historically under-represented background. They and their parents were invited to an orientation at each respective school in October to learn about the history and purpose of the Ivy League Project. Nearly forty students in 10th or 11th grade applied for the Tour – a process that includes a college-like application, a copy of transcripts, and two letters of recommendation from teachers. These students must be enrolled in college prep, honors, or advanced placement classes. Twenty students were invited to interview from which twelve students were selected to this year’s Tour. The students raise funds for the trip.
The twelve students traveling to mid-Atlantic and New England states are a diverse group of college bound scholars. Esteban Guerrero, Yesenia Melgoza, Jiayao Huang, Yonatan Nieves are juniors attending Pájaro Valley High School. Kevin Benitez, Alan Medina, Bryan Lopez, Ana Isabel Huezo, Cassey Covington, Rachel Bañuelos, Martin Corona, also juniors, are enrolled at Watsonville High School. Enrique Ornelas, a sophomore goes to Watsonville High. They have worked earnestly at school to maintain their academic success and organized bake sales, collaborations with local eateries, garage sales, and public speaking engagements to promote the Project and have raised the money to cover the costs of the tour. It costs $1800 per student for air and ground transportation, lodging, and meals for the seven-day tour.
The Tour will begin at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. It continues on to Princeton University in New Jersey, Columbia University in Manhattan, Yale University in New Haven, Brown University in Providence, Tufts University, Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Boston University in the Boston area.
Since 2006 forty-one students from the PajaroValley Unified School District have participated on the ILP Tour. Currently Ester Lomeli is attending MIT, Ana Castillo is matriculating at Columbia, Victor Cervantes is enrolled at Boston U., Joaquin Alvarez-Bautista and Lawrence Choi are at Brown, while Sandro Renteria-Garcia attends classes at Tufts. They will serve as hosts to this year’s group.