Back to search

Imagine College opens doors for youth

Program brings Seaside HS students to campus

For many students, writing is a daunting task. Putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) is a homework chore, not a summertime activity.

But for 72 high school students at CSU Monterey Bay this summer, writing is a passion.

Students from Seaside High were on campus as part of the fifth annual Imagine College Summer Scholar Institute, which brings approximately 240 high school students to CSUMB for a trio of one-week sessions. Nearly 70 percent of them come from families where no one has attended college.

The program's goal is to encourage students to think that college is a realistic possibility, and to help them pay for it. Each student enrolls for a five-day session and can choose one of four courses to pursue during the week: filmmaking; creative writing; math or Spanish. Current CSUMB students, and a few alumni, will serve as teaching assistants or "mentors."

According to Juan Ramirez, co-coordinator of the program, the focus of the program is to get high school students “to imagine going to college, and realize they actually can.”

The cornerstone of the program is the guarantee of a $4,000 scholarship to any student who graduates from Seaside High School with a 2.5-grade-point average, attends two weeks of Imagine College summer sessions while in high school and gets accepted to a college or university.

A local resident donated the scholarship money. CSUMB and the Monterey Peninsula Unified School District are sponsoring the program.

Sixteen-year-old Michelle Asignacion said the program was an opportunity for the high school students to grow.

She learned that “creativity is the act of defiance, and I am always the kid who won’t speak up in class because I think people have better things to say than me.” In her creative writing class, she said, she has learned she can write it down on paper, and not worry about what she says.

Learn more about Imagine College