SR middle schoolers urged to prep for college

  • Stephanie Rivera, 13, left, laughs about their mortar boards with Guadalupe Escutia, 13, during the Road to College Tour 2010 at Hilliard Comstock MIddle School in Santa Rosa on Tuesday, April 27, 2010.

Comstock seventh grader Rahel Abraha is a decade from college graduation, but on Tuesday morning she tried on a mortar board and had her "Class of 2020" photo taken.

The photo booth was one of the stations in "Road to College: Get on Board," Comstock Middle School Tuesday coordinated by the California State University system.

"I got excited when I took the picture," Abraha said. "I wanted my parents to feel happy that I will graduate from college."

That's the idea, said Margery Grey, assistant vice chancellor of communications for the state university system.

"It's a very intentional memento," she said. "We want them to not just go to college, but graduate from college — to visualize it."

This marks the second year that the "Road to College" bus tour has visited schools near the 23 college campuses. It is the first time the bus has stopped at Comstock.

The program is funded by a $500,000 sponsorship from AT&T. It's goal is to get middle school students in schools with high Latino, African American and Asian populations to start thinking about college and college applications before they set foot in high school.

"They typically have lower college-going rates than other students," Grey said.

Students from Sonoma State University manned laptop computers and helped the Comstock seventh and eighth graders watch inspirational videos, navigate campus websites and answer questions.

"Even though they live close to Sonoma State, they have never seen it," SSU third-year history major Juan Rodriguez said of many middle schoolers. "I describe it as if it's my first time on campus."

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