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Year One: Life at ASU — Eric gains experiences in Cuba and west Phoenix

From Cuba to West Phoenix, Eric continues to gain experience as an ASU freshman.
March 31, 2016

Editor's note: "Year One: Life at ASU" is a periodic photo series following five freshmen navigating their first year at ASU. This installment checks in on Eric Arellano's spring activities.

Eric Arellano’s choice of how to spend his first spring break differed from most other freshmen. Through ASU’s new Global Intensive Experience, he and 17 other students went to Cuba to live with and learn from the families, farmers, doctors and entrepreneurs who live there. In preparation, Arellano took POS 486: International Political Economy to provide background for the weeklong trip. The group traveled through the capital of La Habana (Havana); Santa Clara, famous for its memorial to the revolutionary icon Che Guevara; and the historic agrarian community of Trinidad, on the southern coast. Eric appreciated the trip for providing a new perspective on the world and specifically political economy often ignored in the United States.

He shared his and friends' photos from the trip below.

The following weekend, the socially minded computer science student traveled early Saturday morning to volunteer in a lower-income neighborhood near the Marc Atkinson Kid Street Park in Phoenix. There, joined with a few of his Next Generation Service Corps friends and around 100 other volunteers, he spent the morning scrubbing the playground equipment and repainting the curb as a part of ASU's Day of Service. Others in the group went around the neighborhood painting a community mural and removing dead vegetation and other debris from alleyways. The project was coordinated with the College of Public Service and Community Solutions, and was encouraged as a way for members of the Next Generation Service Corps to give back to the local community.

Gov. Doug Ducey to deliver ASU Prep commencement address

March 31, 2016

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey selected Arizona State University Preparatory Academy Phoenix as one of two high schools where he will address graduating seniors, their teachers and families.

ASU Prep in downtown Phoenix is on track to graduate 100 percent of its 96-member senior class — its second graduating class. For the second consecutive year, ASU Prep boasts a college-acceptance rate of more than 70 percent; statewide, 47 percent of students are eligible for college admission. In addition, students in the class of 2016 have earned more than $2 million in merit scholarships. ASU Preparatory Academy 2015 graduation. Members of the first graduation class from ASU Preparatory Academy in 2015. Download Full Image

ASU Prep Phoenix is a partnership between Arizona State University and the Phoenix Elementary School District. It offers a college preparatory curriculum for students in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade. ASU inherited the chronically underperforming school in 2009. 

“I’m excited to join this excellent group of graduating Sun Devils as they celebrate their hard work and accomplishments over the past several years, and I look forward to being able to do so from the same campus where I spent my college years,” Ducey said.

Ducey’s participation in the school’s commencement exercises highlights the strength of ASU Prep’s academic programs. The school, where 70 percent of students receive free and reduced-price lunches, boasts a track record of success since opening six years ago, including recognition from the National Charter School Association for being one of the best schools based on academic achievement. 

“ASU Prep represents the future of public education,” said Art Lebowitz, secondary school director of ASU Prep Phoenix. “Every student from ASU Prep will graduate with the skills necessary to succeed in college, support their community and become contributing citizens.”

ASU Prep’s curriculum is modeled after the internationally acclaimed Cambridge curriculum, which provides a clear and rigorous teaching structure for English, math and science courses. Juniors and seniors are eligible to take ASU courses for college credit, and all students have the opportunity to participate in an annual capstone project, where students take knowledge learned in the classroom and use it to benefit the community.

ASU Prep Phoenix’s commencement exercises will take place at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 26, at ASU Gammage in Tempe.  

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