In its first year, the University of Rochester College Prep Center at East High School worked with nearly 700 students, providing one-on-one advice and assistance and hosting workshops and events about the college admissions process. Now, thanks to a generous grant from the Max and Marian Farash Charitable Foundation, students at the Vanguard Collegiate High School and other schools on the Benjamin Franklin High School campus will receive the same support and outreach through their own College Prep Center, slated to open this fall.
Funded by a $75,000 grant from the Farash Foundation, the Franklin College Prep Center will be a partnership between the school and the University’s David T. Kearns Center for Leadership and Diversity in Arts, Sciences and Engineering. The Farash Foundation grant will enable the Kearns Center to place one full-time staff member and up to two AmeriCorps members at the Center.
Franklin’s College Prep Center will be modeled after East High’s, which is funded by the JPMorgan Chase Foundation and officially opened its doors in August 2011. In the last year, East’s center hosted 90 classroom workshops focused on goal setting, career exploration, college preparation, and academic support, and students participated in 25 college admissions visits and field trips. As a result of the collaboration, East High students are enrolling in colleges and universities including the University of Rochester, Rochester Institute of Technology, SUNY Cortland, Damon College, Paul Smith’s College, and Monroe Community College, among many others. East High’s center will operate for a second year, thanks to a renewed $90,000 grant from the JPMorgan Chase Foundation.
Beth Olivares, director of the David T. Kearns Center, explained that expanding these services to more students in the Rochester City School District will have multiple benefits.
“Our goal is to increase the high school graduation and college-going rates of students across the Rochester City School District. Growing directly out of the successful partnerships the Kearns Center already has with the RCSD through Upward Bound, the College Prep Centers expand the amount of advice, guidance, and hands-on assistance RCSD students and their families can receive with regard to the college and financial aid processes,” said Olivares. “We are hugely grateful to the Max and Marian Farash Charitable Foundation for allowing us to expand our work to provide additional services to the students attending Vanguard and the other schools at Franklin.”
Franklin’s College Prep Center, which Olivares said will be a hub for college- and financial aid-related advising and academic support activity, is located in the main hallway of Vanguard. University of Rochester undergraduates will visit the center at least once a week to tutor, provide Regents Exam preparation, and serve as mentors for the high school students. And, like the center at East, the space at Franklin is equipped with a mock dorm room designed to inspire students to attend college.
“Max Farash was emphatic and articulate about his belief in the importance of education,” said Nathan J. Robfogel, chair of the Farash Foundation’s board of trustees. “There can be nothing more appropriate than a grant to the schools at Franklin, which Max and Marian themselves attended.”
Franklin students also will have the opportunity to participate in the many community activities that the University sponsors, including ¡Soy Única! ¡Soy Latina! and Rochester Scholars, among others.
“I am very fortunate to collaborate with a program that supports and speaks to our schools’ mission and vision as well as our existing partnership with College Board,” said Carol Jones, principal of Franklin’s Vanguard Collegiate High School. “At Vanguard our mission is to prepare every student for access to and success in college. By partnering with the University of Rochester so many RCSD families will have access to support and valuable information when considering their child’s interest in their post-secondary education. We are humbled by the support of the Farash Foundation and cannot thank Beth Olivares, director of the David T. Kearns Center, and Anthony Plonczynski, associate director of pre-college programs, enough for considering Vanguard as the second College Prep Center.”