23 Oct Celebrating Success
By James Rodgers
Last month, South Central Youth Empowered through Action (SCYEA) celebrated the successful graduation of leaders from various South Los Angeles high schools to colleges and universities.
SCYEA high school seniors worked tirelessly last fall and spring on their college applications at weekly workshops at Community Coalition. Now they are blazing the trail as first-generation college students across the state and country.
Siria Diego, who has been a SCYEA member since middle school, will proudly enter UC Santa Cruz this fall quarter, a school that got her attention after attending the Bay Area College Tour with the Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools summer initiative sponsored by Community Coalition.
“The Bay Area trip really opened my eyes to Santa Cruz,” she says. “I would have never considered going there if I hadn’t visited first and now I’m a proud Banana Slug!” she added, showing a bit of school spirit for her new alma mater.
Diego is the fifth member of her family to participate in SCYEA’s leadership and academic services programs. All of her siblings have gone on to graduate from top universities as a result of Community Coalition’s work.
Alezaihvia Melendez had her heart set on a historically black college. Earlier this month, she began her first semester at Bennett College, a small liberal arts school in North Carolina. She was awarded the Children’s Defense Fund Beat the Odds Scholarship for overcoming tremendous adversity, demonstrating academic excellence and displaying leadership at Community Coalition. Other SCYEA students began school at Cal State Northridge, San Francisco State University, Cal State Long Beach and other universities.
Community Coalition is proud of its 2014 class of youth leaders and will continue to create a pipeline to higher education by equipping students with skills to lead their peers, fight for educational equity and be models for academic success in South L.A. schools.
Rodgers is the academic coordinator at Community Coalition.