SASS Student Katherine Ramirez heads for UC Berkeley

Written by SASS reporters on . Posted in General News

Katherine Ramirez came to the U.S. from Peru a few months shy of her 18th birthday. Now, four years later, she’s heading off to UC Berkeley to focus on global economic development.

Katherine began her education in the U.S. by taking English as a Second Language (ESL) classes at Sequoia Adult School. Six months later, she transferred to Cañada College where, after completing advanced ESL classes, she began pursuing her passion for math and economics. In May she graduated from  Cañada College magna cum laude with an Associate of Science degree.
To cover her living expenses while in college, Katherine worked 30 hours a week at Target; tutored Cañada students in math, English, and ESL classes; and babysat in the evenings, all while taking a full course load. SASS paid for her books and, before she had a car, her bus pass.
” I will always remember SASS for the scholarship that helped me to get started on the path to college,” Katherine says. “Because of SASS, my life was a little less difficult.”

Record number of SASS students honored at Cañada graduation 

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On May 27th, fifteen SASS students received a degrees or certificate from Cañada College, up from seven students a year ago.  

Three students received Associate degrees and will transfer to four-year universities. Katherine Ramirez will study economics at UC Berkeley, Karen Velazquez will study psychology at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and Viridiana Yengle will most likely attend Cal State East Bay to get her special education credential.

Silvia Gomez is the first SASS student to earn a certificate in medical assisting. In addition, 11 students received PASS certificates. This certificate signifies that a student has completed all required Cañada College ESL classes as well as English 100, a college-level class that counts for credit at the University of California. These students can now start taking classes to prepare them for their chosen careers.   

SASS awards donor-inspired SASS Stars scholarships  

Written by SASS reporters on . Posted in Student Scholarships & Awards

Computer science major Jose Quinteros and business major Lorenza Villanueva are the recipients of the first-ever SASS Stars scholarships

Computer science major Jose Quinteros and business major Lorenza Villanueva are the recipients of the first-ever SASS Stars scholarships. 

SASS Stars is a new SASS program inspired by donors who wanted to provide significant financial support so that outstanding students could expedite their education. The scholarship is for $5,000 per year for two years. According to SASS Board President Laura Ayala, “The goal of the SASS Stars program is to help talented, motivated, and career-driven SASS students achieve their goals by accelerating their progress at community college.”

As a result of receiving their Stars scholarships, Jose could afford to quit one of his jobs and spend more time studying, and Lorenza was able to get her car fixed so that she didn’t need to spend time taking public transportation.  
To be eligible for a SASS Stars scholarship, SASS students had to have attended college for two or more years with a GPA of at least 2.5 and have clear and realistic career goals.  
We want to thank the very generous SASS donors who made these scholarships possible: principals at Private Capital Management Associates in San Mateo; Susan Russell, former SASS board president; Paula Uccelli, president of the Peter and Paula Uccelli Foundation; and Wendy and Porfirio Ortiz.

Cañada ESL profs lead SASS tutor training session

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Cañada ESL profs lead SASS tutor training session

Cañada ESL Prof. Rebekah Taveau

On February 11, close to forty SASS tutors attended a training session led by Cañada ESL professors Rebekah Taveau and Jeanne Gross. The session was the result of requests from SASS tutors to better understand the expectations of Cañada ESL professors and a desire to understand and employ effective strategies during tutoring sessions.    

“I’ve always been passionate about teaching and helping people with their writing, but until this training session I didn’t know much about the ‘how,’” says SASS tutor and Facebook employee Eva Gantz. “In just a few hours, the presenters filled up our tool kits with strategies, tips, and resources.”

Close to 200 SASS recipients head to college

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In fall 2016 SASS supported close to 200 students attending community colleges. About 95 percent of students are enrolled at Cañada College; the remainder attend other local community colleges including the College of San Mateo, Foothill College, and De Anza College. Students range in age from 19 to 66, with two thirds of students ages 25 – 44. About 85 percent are from Central America; the rest are from around the globe including Cambodia, Iran, Colombia, and Peru. Forty-six percent of recipients have children attending U.S. schools.

While most SASS recipients are ESL students, a growing number are High School Equivalency (HSE) students, adults who, due to challenges during high school, quit school, then returned to adult school to get a GED or high school diploma and, finally, enrolled in community college.

SASS hires its first coordinator

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tania-sass-coordinatorWith close to 200 recipients, 40-plus tutors, a small but growing mentoring program, and a laptop donation program, SASS has a lot to keep track of. That’s why, in early August, we hired our first coordinator, Tania Ventura, who is herself a SASS recipient. Tania has a full course load at Cañada and also works half-time for SASS, where she helps coordinate the SASS tutoring, Clipper Card, and laptop programs.

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