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Pecos Schools Try New Tactics to get Students to College 10/1/12
CBS 7 Reporter
Pecos, TX - Some West Texas students are getting an early start; looking at colleges before they even get to junior high.
School leaders in Pecos are making a bigger push than ever before to get their students college ready. About 25% of students at Pecos High School will go to college after they graduate and school counselors say that number is too low.
Students at Austin Elementary already have college on their mind, donning t-shirts and carrying banners representing universities from around the country.
3rd grader Armando Ortega is already looking to year 2026, the year he will graduate from college, following in his teacher's footsteps.
"Baylor University because it has great science labs," he says.
“There is a need for college readiness for our students because we know they are capable its just the lack of exposure,” says school counselor Rosie Salcido. “Several of our students will be first generation college students.”
Now the exposure marks every doorway, window, and hallway. Inside one classroom students are taking a virtual tour of a college campus.
"What we're trying to do at the younger levels is expose them to a variety of different colleges and universities," Salcido explains.
The project extends up to Pecos high school where the school district is putting their money where their mouth is and they're asking the community to do the same.
"We know that they can do it as long as they have support from the school district and the community,” Salcido says. “It is a joint effort."
They’ve set up a senior scholarship fund to make sure every student who attends a college or technical school will get help with the cost.
It's a fund that will help students like Megan Apolinar who's attending UTSA next year as a first generation college student
"It’s always been a goal of mine to be on the top of the class," Apolinar says.
Apolinar says she got to the top thanks to her teachers and parents pushing her to succeed.
Because they know a college education creates new career opportunities and the potential to earn more money in the future.
"They want more for me than what they had," she says of her parents.
Now she's on her way and taking with her the advice she got right here in Pecos.
"Be someone, become someone."
Someone who is ready for the next step, but will never forget the small town where it all started.
School administrators have sent letters to all local businesses and community members encouraging them to donate to their scholarship fund. If you would like to help, call the high school counselors at 432-447-7400, extension 8080.