Mentoring Program Promotes Post-Secondary Education for Underrepresented High School Students
On March 31, College EDge held its seventh annual Seminar and Fair Day for approximately 200 New York public high school students in Furst Hall 501. A nonprofit founded in 2011 at Yeshiva University, College EDge’s mission is to help underrepresented high school students apply to and attend college by offering application assistance at the seminar and fair, where students can listen to inspirational speakers, attend workshops and meet with college admissions representatives.
The seminar was completely organized by YU students in collaboration with multiple campus offices, ranging from the Office of the President to YU Security.
Senior Briana Friedman, president of the College Edge Board of Directors, said that the fair is the highlight of College EDge’s year-long programming because “we’re giving them inspirational and knowledgeable speakers, workshops on every step of the journey and access to college representatives.”
Isaac Krasnopolsky, also a senior, is the board’s vice president for events and public relations. In addition to the resources the fair will provide to the high school students, “it’s important for students like us, who have been through the process, to give back to other students the knowledge we have about this complicated process,” he said.
The morning session kicked off with presentations by Rabbi Dr. Joshua Joseph, senior vice president; Dr. Karen Bacon, the Dr. Monique C. Katz Dean of Undergraduate Faculty of Arts and Sciences; Lolita Wood-Hill, pre-health counselor in the University’s academic advising department and a member of the College EDge executive board; Rafael Quiles, admissions representative from Hostos Community College; and Phil Goldfeder, assistant vice president for government affairs. Each speaker gave a rousing motivational speech that expressed a strong belief in the students’ ability to succeed and a promise to provide them the support they needed.
After a pizza lunch and the chance to interact with each other, the students attended workshops on financial aid, writing effective personal essays and navigating college requirements, and then had the chance to speak with representatives from 15 colleges.
Vanessa Luna, a guidance counselor from Gregorio Luperon High School for Science and Mathematics, was excited by how everything being offered “was helping the students set up their future – writing the personal essay, exploring all kinds of internships, investigating all types of college. I wish I had had this kind of help when I was in high school.”
Jocelyn Aponte, a guidance counselor with the New York City Department of Education, echoed Luna’s enthusiasm, calling the event a “great day” for all of her students.
Joyce Emanuel de La Rosa, 17, wanted to gather as much information as he could from colleges that offered mechanical or chemical engineering, two passions of his. “This is a very good experience, and I’m really honored to be here.”
Anabel Hernandez, 17, found the day “pretty awesome, and I really felt encouraged to follow my dreams,” which might include majoring in psychology. Her classmate, Jireinny Rodriguez, also 17, is working hard at becoming an expert software programmer in Python, and she was really excited by “how many different opportunities there are to accomplish whatever you want to accomplish.”
Issac Friedman, a senior who is the HR director of the board, works hard for College EDge because the program “helps students who may not have the same options or opportunities as we have had to gain educational success.” His colleague, Miriam Pearl Klahr, vice president of mentorship, likens what they do to “a big brother-big sister relationship with our students – we are there every step of the way with them to help them deal with the stress of going to college.”