Emerge students meet mentors at college send-off banquet

Emerge – HISD scholars were congratulated on their success and encouraged to continue to work hard during a college send-off banquet last week. The Emerge fellows, who will begin college this fall at schools such as Stanford, Yale, MIT, Tufts and other top-tier colleges celebrated their achievements and met the mentors who will guide them through the next phase of their education.

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During their years in high school, Emerge students keep in close contact with program managers who guide them through the process of qualifying for and applying to well-known universities. Yet the mentoring doesn’t end after students are accepted into college and put away their high school cap and gown. Students are assigned mentors — volunteers from the community — who help them navigate the college experience through their first year and beyond.

“I participated in mentoring programs myself when I was in school,” said mentor Dr. Dwayne Raiford. “I, also, am the first person in my family to go to college.

“On my father’s side, I’m the only male to graduate high school. So I really value the impact I can have on these students’ lives. A lot of times, students don’t know what it takes to be successful in college — especially if you don’t have family members who’ve done it.”

Emerge Fellowship executive director Susana Rosas stressed to the students that no one gets through life without someone else’s help. “We’re here to help you, just like we did in high school,” Rosas said.

Thanks to the Emerge program, 64 students this past year were accepted into colleges or universities. Emerge now serves 253 students in 25 HISD high schools. EMERGE will be adding 10 new schools in the spring.

To learn more about the Emerge program, visit its website at houstonisd.org/emerge. To read about the personal experience of Emerge students, go to the EMERGing Voices blog.