Park City’s Bright Future Program Helps 1st Generation College Students stay on track

Aug 8, 2018, 6:02 PM | Updated: 10:07 pm

PARK CITY, Utah —For first generation college students, the challenges can be overwhelming.  However a program in Park City gets young students on a college track, starting in high school.

Kids participating in the unique program don’t mind that while their friends are at the pool, they’re in a summer class.

Bryan Alvarez, 10th grade, “I want to make sure my future is good, instead of just hanging out.”

In this Bright Futures course, they learn about something many teens take for granted–going to college.

“I don’t know a lot of people that go to college and they can’t guide me,” said Karla Santos, 10th grade.

Isaac Cortes, 12th grade, said, ” I don’t have any role models or people I know who’ve been to college. I’m kind of doing it on my own.”

So they learn about finding scholarships, financial aid, and picking a major.

Jennifer Billow, with Park City Education Foundation said, “This program is to give kids their own self advocacy skills to get themselves together through college.”

It also teaches soft skills, like confidence.

“There’s just people who feel like they don’t belong sometimes,” explained Heidy Onofre, 12th grade.

The goal is not just to get them to college, but to help them graduate.  Nationally, only 10-percent of first generation students graduate. This program wants to change that equation.

Bright Futures is modeled after a program in California that has 90-percent graduation rate.

All through high school, these selected students will spend summers getting ready. Donors to the education foundation make it possible.

“It does make it a lot less stressful, because you have a lot more resources,” said Bryan Alvarez, 10th grade,.

Rebecca Gonzolez, with Bright Futures said, “My dream is for them to be college graduates and come back to Park City and have a seat at the table.”

Karla Santos’ dream is to honor her parents by earning a college degree.  Santos said, “They would be really proud because my parents both didn’t graduate from college, they didn’t get the opportunity to go to college.”


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Park City’s Bright Future Program Helps 1st Generation College Students stay on track