CREATED Apr. 16, 2013
COACHELLA - Efforts are under way to help restructure the high school education system in the East Valley. A group of high school students and board members of the Coachella Valley Unified School District met Tuesday to address higher education.
"We want to create what's called a pipeline to where students that graduate from here or from this district get to have first priority in registering for college and registering for universities," said high school senior Carlos Gamez.
Gamez attends the Coachella Valley High School, and he is one of the students leading the "Pathway of Hope" campaign. He says the problem right now is that students are not graduating with the necessary requirements to enter college especially Latino students.
"So far people are thinking about short-term goals like getting out of high school and going to work but they're not figuring out that life would be so much easier if they got higher education," said Gamez.
The latest figures from the California Department of Education show that 277 Latinos graduated last year in the Coachella Valley Unified School District. Of those, only 23 percent, met the requirements to attend college.
The youth-led campaign's goal is to modify the high school graduation requirements to fit the classes students need to get into college. This way, as soon as seniors graduate, they will be eligible to apply to California public colleges such as UC and CSU schools.
With this campaign, the youth in this community is trying set an example. Gamez says it's something much bigger than just college requirements.
"It's very important to us, not only a race but a culture, to better ourselves and further our education, as opposed to just being ok and graduating high school," expressed Gamez.
This July, the students hope to meet with local universities such as the University of California Riverside to talk about future partnerships. The goal is to have these policy changes in place by the start of the next school year.