• Roaring Fork PreCollegiate

    Mentoring The First Generation


  • Be Boulder: CU Highlights the Roaring Fork PreCollegiate Program

  • Guest Opinion: The Amazing Success of the PreCollegiate Program

    Defining success in the social program world is challenging.  In the case of RE-1 School District’s PreCollegiate Program it is clear as a bell. 

    http://www.postindependent.com/opinion/guest-opinion-the-amazing-success-of-pre-collegiate-program/learn more »

  • College Becomes Reality for Glenwood Twins

    Keyla and Kenia Contereas share more than just a birthday.  The fraternal twins-both are seniors at Glenwood Springs High School-also share the dream of going to college, thanks to Roaring Fork PreCollegiate.  

    http://www.postindependent.com/news/local/college-becomes-reality-for-gwood-twins/learn more »

  • YouthEntity culinary team preps for nationals

    John Stroud
    Post Independent
    Published April 1, 2016

    “Three minutes!” warns chef instructor Matt Maier as his YouthEntity culinary team goes through final preparation for their cooking drill, during which they have one hour to cook and plate a three-course meal.

    Tucked into a 10-foot-by-10-foot space equipped with two portable gas burners, the four-student team works with precision to make sure all of the pots, pans, utensils and ingredients are in the right spot.

    “One minute!”

    “It’s important that we practice just like it will be at competition,” Maier, of AspenPrivateChef.com, said of the upcoming ProStart National Invitational to be held at the Gaylord Texan Resort in Dallas April 28 through May 1.

    “You have an allotted amount of time to complete everything, including setup, cooking time and cleanup,” he explained. learn more »
  • Tough times inspire Mauricio Sosa to pursue Basalt Peace Garden

    Scott Condon
    The Aspen Times
    Published December 20, 2015

    Basalt High School sophomore Mauricio Sosa is proving that bravery comes in many forms.

    Sosa has a slight build, is soft-spoken and a bit shy. He said the shyness is a product of being picked on for so long. “Since I was in first grade, I’ve been made fun of or whatever,” he said.

    Many victims of bullying would disengage, retreat into a shell and become a loner. Instead, Sosa is channeling his struggles into something positive, not only for himself but for every other student at Basalt High School.

    He launched plans last year for a Peace Garden in a large, empty courtyard outside the school’s library. He first envisioned the garden as a place where he could go to take his mind off not fitting in. Now he sees it as a place where any student can go to relax and recharge. learn more »

  • Cross Currents - Pre-Collegiate Program & Depression Research

    Carolyne Heldman
    Aspen Public Radio
    Aired July 22, 2015
    On CrossCurrents this week - David Smith on the Roaring Fork Valley School District's Pre-Collegiate Program, and Dr. Joshua Gordon on the latest research and treatment of depression. learn more »

  • Pre-Collegiate volunteer “hooked” on helping

    Bonnie Cretti
    Special to The Sopris Sun
    Published August 21, 2014
    I retired from full-time teaching at Roaring Fork High School in the spring of 2004. Within just a few weeks, I was contacted by the then-director of the Pre-Collegiate Program, Adriana Ayala, to see if I would be interested in becoming a volunteer mentor. Would I take on a group of freshmen at RFHS who had lost their mentor? For some prescient reason, I did not hesitate to say “yes.” Ten years and many re-inventions later, I am still hooked.

    Pre-Collegiate is a microcosm of what could and maybe should be provided for all high-school students in the Roaring Fork School District. It provides mentoring, test preparation, access to opportunities, summer programs, parental support, and information about the entire college application process for its students. These advantages would benefit all students, but are only now available for those who qualify, who are first-generation college-bound and who show academic promise at some point between the sixth and 11th grades. learn more »

  • Pre-Collegiate Program will “always believe in you”

    Yazmin Castillo
    Sopris Sun Intern
    Published August 21, 2014
    “This program will always believe you.” This is what Ingrid Gomez had to say about the Roaring Fork Pre-Collegiate Program, which caters to future first generation college students from Roaring Fork, Basalt and Glenwood Springs high schools. Along with other students, I have been involved in the program since my seventh grade year in Carbondale schools, and it has been a wonderful experience.

    During the middle school years the program exposes you to different careers and also prepares you to be successful in your upcoming years of high school. When the students enter high school, that’s when all the fun and hard work begins.

    The Pre-Collegiate Program also offers four summer programs: two at Colorado Mountain College (which last a week) and two at the University of Colorado at Boulder campus (which last two weeks). I had the privilege to attend all of them. Not only were they a rewarding experience academically and socially, but it’s an involvement that I will carry and treasure my whole life. learn more »

  • RE-1 Pre-Collegiate Program enters new phase

    David D. Smith
    Sopris Sun
    Published August 21, 2014
    The process of applying to and paying for college is daunting even for those with the best support systems. Navigating that gauntlet is usually more difficult for those students who are the first in their family trying to get a post-secondary education.

    Over 10 years ago, visionary leaders in the Roaring Fork School District recognized this dilemma and, with the help of community partners, formed the Roaring Fork Pre-Collegiate Program. The program is designed to provide additional support to those students in the Glenwood Springs, Carbondale and Basalt schools who would be the first in their family to go to college.

    The program offers academic and extracurricular enrichment through a volunteer-mentor based system. Mentors begin working with small groups of selected students in the seventh grade and stay with them through graduation. Many mentors build lifelong relationships with their “kids.” Through regular meetings, mentors help to introduce the concept of college. They work on nuts-and-bolts-like essays, resumes and college applications, and help students with financial aid and scholarship applications. The work is all geared towards establishing a culture and expectation of college attendance. learn more »

  • Pre-Collegiate Program fulfills the promise of opportunity

    Diana Sirko/Bob Rankin
    Post Independent
    Published August 7, 2014

    State Rep. Bob Rankin was so impressed by the results he saw in a recent meeting with CU-Boulder Chancellor Phil DiStefano, he asked Diana Sirko, superintendent of Roaring Fork School District, to coauthor this article about RFSD’s successful Pre-Collegiate program.

    When our nation was formed, our forefathers had a vision of public schools for all that would create an opportunity for every one of our children to become educated and have access to a future to match their dreams. It’s especially satisfying to be able to share the successes of a unique program that is delivering on that promise of opportunity.

    As our four district high schools in the Roaring Fork School District completed the last academic year, we had the opportunity to celebrate the accomplishments and graduation of the class of 2014. As all of these fine young men and women left us to pursue future endeavors, we also recognized the accomplishments of the students who participated in the Roaring Fork Pre-Collegiate Program.

    learn more »
  • Pre-Collegiate Program takes aim at western Garfield schools

    Heather McGregor
    Post Independent
    Published August 13, 2012

    Roaring Fork High School graduate Ingrid Gomez says getting involved in the Pre-Collegiate Program back in seventh grade set her up for the success she is now achieving as a University of Colorado student.

    "They don't hold your hand, but they guide you there," said Gomez, a 2010 RFHS grad who will start her junior year at CU this fall. She is double-majoring in English and secondary education.

    Gomez and a group of University of Colorado officials visited the Post Independent on Friday to talk about the success of the Pre-Collegiate Program, and about new efforts to expand the program into western Garfield County.

    CU Chancellor Phil DiStefano said the program is aimed at helping students whose parents and grandparents didn't attend college learn how to prepare themselves academically to be first generation college students. learn more »

  • Pre-Collegiate Program puts kids on track for college success

    Jim Noyes
    Post Independent
    Published Nov. 13, 2011

    In a country where roughly 25 percent of high school students drop out and never earn their diplomas, and only one-third of the graduates move on to higher education at the college level, the Roaring Fork Re-1 School District is particularly proud of the outcomes of its unique Pre-Collegiate Program.

    Virtually 100 percent of the grades 7-12 students enrolled in Pre-Collegiate as an optional, extra-curricular activity graduate from high school, and an amazing 97 percent have gone on to college.

    These results are particularly impressive given that the Pre-Collegiate Program targets first-generation students - those who would be the first in their families to attend college.

    Being a trailblazer is never easy, and these first-generation students are expected to overcome cultural, language and financial barriers and do so without the parental guidance that other students have.

    The Pre-Collegiate Program was the brainchild of state Sen. Gail Schwartz, D-Snowmass Village, when she sat on the University of Colorado Board of Regents in 2003. She witnessed a very disturbing high school dropout trend in the Roaring Fork Valley, especially among Hispanic students. learn more »

  • High school students get a taste of life in college

    By Reynis Vazquez
    Post Independent
    Published July 10, 2011

    A group of 100 high school students from the Roaring Fork Valley and Summit County experienced life on a large college campus for two weeks at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

    They participated in the Pre-Collegiate Program, which aims to give students - who will be the first generation in their family to graduate from college - the tools they need to succeed.

    The Roaring Fork School District/Summit Pre-Collegiate Summer Camp is funded almost entirely by the University of Colorado at Boulder. Families of the students pay only $40 for the entire stay.

    The two-week program, held June 19 to July 1, was structured to prepare students for the rigors of college. They attended math, science, English and ethnic studies classes in buildings across campus. Students stayed in a dormitory to better experience college life.

    "The classes were challenging in a good way because they were helping you get ready for college," said Ivan Sarabia, 16, of Glenwood Springs.

    "I learned how to handle more college-level work. I really liked that it was challenging and we got to meet new people and it was in a larger campus than at home." said Bryan Menjivar, 16, of Basalt.

    Leslie Emerson, director of the Roaring Fork School District Pre-Collegiate Program, and Molly Griffith, director of the Summit County Pre-Collegiate Program, accompanied the students for the duration of the program. learn more »

  • Pre-Collegiate Mentor Paula Stepp

    Keevyn Scholl
    Post Independent
    June 20, 2009

    Family, friends, pets, sports, teaching, volunteering and life. This describes Paula Stepp in a few words. Stepp is a person who gives to others. She volunteers her time for the future education of our valley's youth.

    As the daughter of an Air Force officer, Stepp grew up all over the world. She was born in California, moved to France, spent some time in Japan, and ended up spending her high school career in Colorado, and eventually attending Humboldt State University in California. learn more »

  • Pre-Collegiate Mentor Thomas van Straaten

    Erma Bombeck once said, "Volunteers are the only human beings on the face of the earth who reflect this nation's compassion, unselfish caring, patience, and just plain love for one another." Thomas van Straaten, an avid volunteer, is one of those unselfish people who seem to better our world everyday with his love, patience, and compassion. Straaten is a newly named mentor to eighth grade students at Basalt Middle School. He has paired with the Pre-Collegiate Program (PCP) to educate, train, and prepare students for college and post-academic life.

    The Pre-Collegiate Program's main goal is to develop relationships, promote healthy decisions, and ultimately guide students down the collegiate path. "100% of the kids enrolled in the program, past and present, have gone to college, including two young ladies that were pregnant," Pre-Collegiate Director Adriana Ayala-Hire said. The PCP has thrived in this valley for more than three years and is offered to students whose parents have either not attended college or did not complete college. learn more »

  • Pre-Collegiate Mentor Mark Spidell

    Drew Halsch
    Post Independent
    June 14, 2009

    After a long day at work, most people would go home to relax; however, for Mark Spidell, a commercial lending advisor at U.S. Bank, the day doesn't just revolve around his work. On top of his full work load, he is a pre-collegiate mentor for the Roaring Fork School District Re-1.

    Mark Spidell was born in Greeley, Colo., and moved throughout his childhood from Kansas City to a small town in Oklahoma. He finally moved back to Colorado to finish his high school career. He then moved on to the University of Denver, where he received his degree in business and marketing. learn more »

  • Cretti a 'guardian of education'

    Connor McRaith
    Glenwood Springs Post Independent
    May 26, 2009

    College is an experience that many students around the world never have the opportunity to take a swing at. But here in the Roaring Fork Valley students have the chance to actually hit that ball when it comes and be prepared for the big leagues. This preparation takes place through a program called Pre-Collegiate. learn more »

  • Sprick an inspiration to college-bound students

    Inspiration comes in many forms. Pre-Collegiate mentor Nova Sprick is one of them. Sprick is a yoga instructor, mentor and cancer survivor. Not many people can claim to be all three.

    Sprick has worked as a Pre-Collegiate mentor for only a little more than a year. She started last January, but has already made an impact on the seven girls with whom she works. None of the girls' mentors stuck around for long because the group was shy. This was perfect for Sprick because she was shy in high school so she relates to the girls.

    Sprick works with the girls every other week and then also individually in-between meetings. "My job as a mentor is to introduce (the girls) to wide varieties of jobs, and also to be another adult support outside the family," Sprick said. learn more »

  • Pre-collegiate mentor: Bob Johnson

    Anna Holley
    Post Independent
    May 8, 2009

    This man is the epitome of human decency and selflessness. Characteristics that few possess. One man who possesses such qualities is Bob Johnson. Johnson is a Pre-Collegiate mentor for whom one good deed isn't enough.

    "He has really helped me to find my way through a sea of tests and paperwork...he helps me see what I need to get to where I want to go," a junior at GSHS Abril Loya said. learn more »