From preschoolers to highschoolers, the month of May begins a celebration of accomplishments and the excitement for the next stage of life. For one young girl, an upcoming promotion marks a whole family’s embrace of a college-going culture.
Castle Park Elementary fifth grader, Frida Aldai, is part of the first cohort of students enrolled with Chula Vista College Institute (CVCI). A partner of Chula Vista Promise Neighborhood (CVPromise), CVCI is a Chula Vista extension of Barrio Logan College Institute (BLCI) who for the past 15 years has successfully provided after school academic support to potential first generation college students. Beginning in third grade, the program supports both students and parents. Their results: 100 percent of their graduating students have been admitted to colleges and universities throughout the country.
“We focus on preparing students for college by developing a solid foundation for their future through after-school tutoring, workshops, as well as college and career related activities,” BLCI Executive Director Jose Cruz said.
CVCI, which was designed specifically in response to Castle Park student needs, also helps students by working collaboratively with their families to provide parent support and help them gain a better understanding of how to get further involved in their student’s education.
Visiting universities in San Diego is among the various activities offered to Frida, her classmates and parents since the program began. Three years later, Frida is set on going to college to become an artist. Frida and her mother talk often about her future aspirations as well as her dream school, San Diego State University.
“My family believes in my art creations,” Frida said.
As fifth graders, Frida and her fellow CVCI classmates spent part of the year researching colleges and preparing for an end of the year college poster and oral presentation to be presented to parents and school staff. For Frida, this was more than just an assignment. Three years ago, she had been a very shy student and struggled with English as her second language. Today, she is confident, excels in public speaking and proud to share her goals. Frida is a shining example of how hard work and resilience leads to success when given an opportunity.
“I believe I can do anything I put my mind to,” Frida said.
Next month, Frida and her CVCI classmates will don cap and gowns to not only celebrate their promotion from CVCI Elementary program to the CVCI Middle School program; but also provide families a glimpse of what to expect in 2027 when they walk across the stage to receive bachelor’s degrees.
Chula Vista Promise Neighborhood (CVPromise) is proud to partner with Castle Park Elementary, Castle Park Middle, Castle Park High School, Hilltop Middle and Hilltop High School to bring new opportunities and pathways of success for their students and families. For more information on CVPromise, please visit CVPromise.org or call (619) 422-5005.
For more information on BLCI, please visit www.BCLI.org.