22 acceptances — including 3 at Yale — for HISD EMERGE seniors

To familiarize them with life on the campus of a select school, HISD’s EMERGE program took a group of rising seniors on a tour of northeast campuses over the summer. Here, they’re at Harvard University.

The acceptance letters for select colleges and universities are rolling in for HISD seniors working with the district’s EMERGE program – 22 letters so far, as of Dec. 18. On Dec. 16 alone, three HISD seniors were notified they had been accepted to Yale University.

All students are either receiving full rides or are having 100 percent of their financial need met by the school accepting them, according to Rick Cruz, assistant superintendent of college readiness and co-founder of EMERGE.

In addition to the three HISD students accepted at Yale, two each were accepted to Johns Hopkins, the University of Virginia, Tufts, Clark, and the University of Texas at Austin, with individual students accepted at Stanford, Amherst, Pitzer, Texas A&M, Trinity (Connecticut), Baylor, Rice, Lewis & Clark and Bryn Mawr.

“It just shows that our students can succeed when we help them aim high,” said Cruz. “They can receive the best education money can buy, and at no cost or limited cost to them.”

Cruz and his team work with high-achieving, low-income students – many of whom would be the first in their family to go beyond high school — to get into selective colleges and universities which are looking for students like them and are willing to provide financial, academic, and social support. He cites statistics that show because of that support, the type of students EMERGE counsels are actually much more likely to complete a degree at one of these elite schools than from a more general program, such as a commuter-type local college.

EMERGE is currently at 14 HISD high schools: Bellaire, Chavez, Booker T. Washington, Davis, DeBakey, Eastwood, Energized for STEM Academy, Furr, Lamar, Madison, Reagan, Sharpstown, Young Men’s College Preparatory Academy, Young Women’s College Preparatory Academy. The program will expand to additional school sites in 2014.

EMERGE also works with students from other schools, including Carnegie Vanguard, Westside, Sharpstown International, Sam Houston, HSPVA, East Early College, and the High School for Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice.

Anyone is invited to apply for EMERGE. For more on the program and how to participate, go to www.houstonisd.org/EMERGE.