Maryvale High School students celebrate completion of college-readiness program


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As a substitute teacher for several Valley school districts, Javetta Alexander-Berry knows the importance of educating students about higher education. She also knows it's one thing to stress the value of going to college, and another thing altogether figuring out how to actually get there.

To help bridge that gap, Berry and her daughter, a student at Maryvale High School in Phoenix, participated in WeGrad at ASU — an eight-week program designed to prepare students and their families for postsecondary success.

Last week, the duo joined other students, parents and family members at Maryvale High School to celebrate their completion of WeGrad.

“Our experience has been wonderful,” Berry said. “The information that we use is going to be useful towards our students’ progression through high school and college.”

Implemented in elementary, middle and high schools throughout the Valley, WeGrad offers in-person, hybrid and fully digital instruction. The program covers a broad range of topics, from the basics of the college application process to navigating financial aid and establishing a college or professional portfolio.

Video courtesy Educational Outreach and Student Services

For students nearing graduation, like Simon Montano, a senior at Maryvale High School, this information is especially beneficial. He said the program helped to demystify financial aid, something he previously thought unattainable.

Montano has his sights set on pursuing architecture at Arizona State University next fall, a goal made more achievable with the knowledge gained from WeGrad.

WeGrad is not just a valuable resource; it’s a resource that should be accessible and utilized by all students, according to Christian Rosario, WeGrad coordinator.

“I wish I had the program when I was your age,” Rosario said. “I didn't know what to do, where to go to look for scholarships — so I did it all by myself.”

Rosario emphasized the program's commitment to ensuring students can pursue their dreams without straining themselves or their families financially.

“I want them to have access to scholarships, partnerships and all the exceptional resources at Arizona State University,” Rosario added. “WeGrad can help anyone achieve their dreams in life. That's our primary goal."

To participate in WeGrad, individuals are encouraged to sign up for the Access ASU K–12 Family Fusion newsletter, which grants complimentary access to the digital course. Thanks to grant funding in 2023–24, families with elementary, middle and high school students will benefit from a cutting-edge online curriculum delivered conveniently via SMS text messaging and WhatsApp.

WeGrad offers instruction in both English and Spanish, with options for schools to host in-person, hybrid or fully digital learning. For more information, visit the WeGrad site.

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