Meet Blanca. You might've seen her at our RISE festivities this year. She’s currently a senior at Reynolds High School who began her involvement with Greater Than when she was a student at Alder Elementary School.
As a daughter of immigrants, she witnesses the challenges her parents face firsthand. Blanca has a world of opportunities ahead of her and her family is what motivates her to thrive as a student, an athlete, and a volunteer in her community.
Her story is one of many that highlight the ways that Greater Than works alongside community partners to support students and families from poverty-impacted areas to succeed in school, college, and career. We want to elevate Blanca's voice in the coming weeks as she gets closer to her graduation date. Please take a moment to learn about Blanca, her family, and Greater Than.
Montessori Pre-K Classrooms - We have two Montessori pre-K classrooms at Alder Elementary School that are first-in-the-nation in a traditional public school. Montessori curriculum centers on fostering executive function for young children.
Middle School - Greater Than staff works with the leadership at H.B. Lee and Reynolds Middle Schools on restorative justice initiatives with youth. By the time Blanca's younger sisters make it to middle school, our "Opt-In" Model that transitions 5th grade students to 6th grade will help strengthen our relationships with our students' families.
High School - Blanca and her fellow GT classmates are 100% on track to graduate! There are currently 33 GT high school seniors and we are at an 81% FAFSA/ORSAA completion rate for the current school year.
Mentoring - This year, we kicked off two new programs: GT Persist and GT Achieve to connect current GT College students with peer mentors or career mentors. We are looking for GT Achieve volunteer mentors for the fall.
College Visits - All of the sisters have spent time on a college campus this year. From kindergarten through high school, we've had a total of 10 college field trips this year.
Blanca and her four sisters have all been impacted by Greater Than. The sisters are in different stages of Greater Than’s cradle-to-career continuum with her youngest sister in the Montessori classroom and oldest sister in college. Here are some of the ways that Blanca and her sisters have been able to engage with Greater Than:
Success in school, college, and career is a collaborative effort for Blanca and her entire family. Her sisters share knowledge with each other while Blanca and her older sister serve as guides to help navigate the different stages of education. With a meaningful gift to Greater Than, you can help us further our work in supporting the whole child as determined by the needs of each family.
In case you missed the news, Blanca and 100% of her fellow GT high school seniors are graduating on time. Historically, on-time graduation rates at Reynolds High School have fluctuated in the 60-70% range. Greater Than is fully committed to cultivating the mindset of reaching a post-secondary goal that leads to a sustainable, living wage career. Part of this includes college visits from an early age. With parents as chaperones, students and families can ask questions together and learn about what happens after high school.
When Blanca was in the fifth grade at Alder Elementary, she went on a field trip to Linfield College that left a lasting impression. These visits continued through middle school and high school to foster a culture of college and career for her and her family. Her sister, Mayra, is the first to attend college and Blanca is ready to jump into university life with an array of scholarships that she attained with individualized support from Greater Than's post-secondary success leaders.
With the help of her Greater Than mentors, Blanca applied to a number of schools and scholarships with tremendous success. Here are some of the scholarships that Blanca was awarded this year:
Blanca dreams of a future career in healthcare administration where she can provide for her parents and family. And she has already started on her goal by helping her younger sisters with their assignments and providing them representation that helps them envision infinite possibilities.
Dell Scholarship - A laptop, textbook credits, and $20,000 toward college tuition
Kaiser Permanente Health Care Career Scholarship - $10,000 awarded to college-bound students from Oregon and Southwest Washington with career aspirations in the health care industry
Hispanic Metropolitan Chamber Scholarship - $2,500 awarded to support Latino high school students residing in Oregon or Clark County, Washington in higher education
On Thursday, June 13th, Blanca’s family watched and cheered as she crossed the Memorial Coliseum stage and transitioned from high school senior to high school graduate. In addition to the numerous scholarships she received for college, Blanca was also awarded the Reynolds High School Principal's Cup and the AVID Student of the Year Award. She’s now on her way to a four-year university to study biology and business. Blanca already has her mind set on attaining a graduate degree in health administration. Like her family, we are beaming with pride and excited for her future.
You’ve had a small look into Blanca's journey from Alder Elementary through Reynolds High School and to her next adventure in college. Since her days at Alder, Blanca has seen a world of endless possibilities because of how Greater Than leverages community partnerships as a way to empower students to pursue post-secondary education. And now is a perfect time to invest in the complex collaboration that allows for students like Blanca to push forward with as few systemic barriers as possible.
Will you make a contribution to Greater Than today in support of our students?
We encourage you to make a special donation in honor of all our 2019 Greater Than high school graduates.
Do you want to make a pledge to Greater Than? Does your employer match charitable gifts? Let us know.