Sampling for Success, 2017

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Al Camarillo was the event MC

With heartfelt emotion, SASS students Marta Marcos and Alejandro Avendaño recounted their personal journeys at this year’s Sampling for Success, SASS’s annual fund-raising and appreciation event that was held June 3 in Atherton. You can watch their speeches here.

Approximately 150 guests and 20 students attended.

Event speakers in addition to student speakers included SASS board president Laura Ayala, SASS executive director Elizabeth Weal, and longtime tutor and donor Deb Abel. Al Camarillo, emeritus professor of history at Stanford University, was master of ceremonies.

From left to right, SASS students Marta Marcos, Juana Mora and Isabel Guerra, and a view of the party


La Rondalalla Cielo Azul provided great entertainment

SASS hosts its first tutor/student picnic

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SASS tutors, students, and family members at the SASS tutor/student picnic.

SASS tutors, students, and family members at the SASS tutor/student picnic.


On October 8, SASS held its first tutor/student picnic at the home of SASS supporter Mary Lou Schiavo. About 40 people attended including tutors, students, and students’ family members. New tutor Erika Pretell was one of many tutors who expressed her enthusiasm for the program.

“I’ve been a SASS tutor for less than a month, but already I love it and look forward to meeting each week with my tutoring partner, Diana,” says SASS tutor Erika Pretell. “I was a bit nervous before we met because I had never tutored anyone before, but my student is smart, motivated, and hard-working, so that makes my job pretty easy.”

Thus far this semester, forty SASS recipients are receiving help from a SASS tutor — up from eight students just two years ago.

The meteoric growth of the SASS tutoring program is attributable to two factors: word about the tutoring program has spread among recipients so more are requesting tutors, and SASS has become more adept at using community resources to recruit tutors.

SASS tutor Erika Pretell  (left), and Erika's student, Diana Viscarra, with Diana's family, at the picnic.

SASS tutor Erika Pretell (left), and Erika’s student, Diana Viscarra, with Diana’s family, at the picnic.

Sampling 2016 features attorney Sergio Garcia

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Sergio Garcia

Sergio Garcia

Attorney Sergio Garcia was the featured speaker at this year’s Sampling for Success, held June 11 at Trinity Church in Menlo Park.
Sergio, who is the first undocumented immigrant to be admitted to the State Bar of California, spoke about the challenges he faced – from his early days in Mexico to his quest to convince state legislators to pass legislation that would enable him to practice law.

After graduating from high school, Sergio was accepted to Stanford and UC Berkeley but, because of his undocumented status, was unable to qualify for financial aid. Sergio attended Butte Community College and then graduated from Cal Northern School of Law in 2009. Four years later, the California State Legislature passed landmark legislation making it possible for him to practice law.

This year’s event was the first to offer an auction of services provided by SASS entrepreneurs, a group that included two handymen, a gardener, a Spanish tutor, and a pet sitter.

SASS Board Member Wendy Kuehnl Ortiz chats with SASS recipient Amado Flores.

SASS Board Member Wendy Kuehnl Ortiz chats with SASS recipient Amado Flores. Amado is transferring to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in September.

Sampling for Success: 2015: A Joyous 5th Anniversary Celebration

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More than 140 guests attended Sampling for Success 2015

Sampling for Success 2015 was well attended

More than 140 guests and 25 SASS recipients celebrated SASS’s 5th anniversary at Sampling for Success 2015. The event took place on May 2 at Trinity Church in Menlo Park.

Amanda Renteria and SASS recipient Brenda Canchola

Amanda Renteria and SASS recipient Brenda Canchola

The event’s keynote speaker, Amanda Renteria, national political director of Hillary Clinton’s Presidential campaign, shared her experiences growing up in the Central Valley as the daughter of an immigrant farm worker, being the first in her high school to attend Stanford University, and, most recently, playing a key role in the Clinton campaign.

Student speaker Moises Bautista is the first SASS recipient to graduate from community college and transfer to a 4-year university. A reluctant math student, Moises described how he started out taking pre-algebra, then continued taking math classes until he eventually discovered his passion for math and engineering. Moises will transfer to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in the fall where he will study industrial engineering.

Student speaker Moises Bautista

Student speaker Moises Bautista

Also honored at the event were three students– Moises Bautista, Corina Romero, and Kenneth Palle– who received “You Can Do It awards” for putting forth extraordinary effort.

College Orientation Sessions Focus on Entrepreneurship

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Luis Vizcardo, Program Coordinator at Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center, was the featured speaker at SASS’s fall orientation sessions.

Luis Vizcardo, Program Coordinator at Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center, was the featured speaker at SASS’s fall orientation sessions.

Close to 70 English language learners who have transitioned—or are about to transition—from Sequoia District Adult School to the Cañada College campus attended a fall orientation session at the Adult School where they met fellow classmates, learned about Cañada College resources and brainstormed solutions to meeting some of the common challenges they face as college students.

The featured speaker at this year’s sessions was Luis Vizcardo, Program Coordinator at Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center. Vizcardo spoke to students about the benefits of using the skills gained in college to start a business, a subject of particular interest to immigrants who have a time-honored tradition of starting businesses in their communities.

The orientation sessions are offered in conjunction with Project LEAP (Leadership, Employment and Academic Preparation), a program supported by the Silicon Valley Community Foundation whose purpose is to prepare English language learners to successfully transition from Sequoia District Adult School to community college. All of the attendees at the sessions received scholarships from Sequoia Adult School Scholars, a non-profit that pays for students’ textbooks and transportation to community college.

Sequoia Adult School Scholars, 3481 Janice Way, Palo Alto, CA 94303  |  (650) 395-8350