Initiative gets Phoenix Union high school students motivated to go to ASU

Feb 3, 2022, 4:45 AM

(Facebook Photo/Phoenix Union High School District)...

(Facebook Photo/Phoenix Union High School District)

(Facebook Photo/Phoenix Union High School District)

PHOENIX — Javier Garcia of Phoenix didn’t think college was an option, but that changed when he got a letter during his freshman year of high school letting him know what needed to be done to get into Arizona State University.

“I got excited and I thought, ‘I get to go somewhere where I can make something of myself,’” he told KTAR News 92.3 FM.

Garcia said the letter gave him “motivation to think about college.” He spent the next four years at Central High School taking the necessary classes and getting involved with extracurricular activities.

The letter is part of an initiative to get more students to go to college.

It’s a collaboration between ASU, the Phoenix Union High School District, the Arizona Department of Education and the Helios Education Foundation.

Thea Andrade, the school district’s chief achievement officer, said the initiative targets certain students.

“We are trying to reach those kids in the middle that maybe had two myths around college – one, can I afford it and two, can I even get it?” she said. “We feel as though this initiative really helped to debunk both of those myths.”

Students get the first letter as freshmen in high school. Every year after that, they get another one letting them know if they’re on track to be admitted into ASU.

The initiative started four years ago, so this graduating class will be the first to get the letters from start to finish.

“About 1,500 students got letters – the ones that absolutely stayed on track – just to say ‘Hey congratulations, you can go to ASU,’” Andrade said.

She added the hope is that it will motivate them to apply to ASU, which Garcia already did. He got admitted and starts attending in the fall.

He plans to study business entrepreneurship and hopes to one day start his own business.

The 17-year-old will graduate high school in May with nearly all A’s. He currently has an unweighted 3.9-grade point average. He also played football and has been the president of his school’s National Honor Society for the past two years.

He credits part of his success to that letter he got as a freshman.

“It gave me a sense of motivation that I can do it – that whatever comes to my mind, I can do it,” he said.

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Initiative gets Phoenix Union high school students motivated to go to ASU