2014-2015 School Year

  • W2C has five college graduates, Evelin Serrano, Carroll University, Gilberto Colin, University of the South, Luis Tinoco, University of the South, Paola Castillo and Tanais Angel, Lake Forest College
  • 50 college students completed another year of studies
  • 10 seniors in 2014-15 will be attending College of Lake County, Denison University, DePauw University, Dominican University, Georgetown University, Pomona College, and University of Illinois Springfield
  • Since 2010, all W2C students have graduated from high school and matriculated to college
  • More than 72% of W2C students either maintained As or Bs in English or improved their grades; 65% of W2C students either maintained As or Bs in math or improved their grades
  • W2C grew to 80 students in 2014-15 up from 25 in 2009
  • Nearly all students participated in a summer enrichment activity including Leadership Lab at Augustana College, Northern IL University’s STEM Camp, Journalism Camp at Marquette University, Graphic Design Camp at the University of Iowa, COOL Summer Learning and Youth Conservation Camp.
  • Volunteers gave over 1350 hours of tutoring and reading assistance
  • Through the Expanding Horizons program took 8 trips to cultural events (e.g., Bradbury Storytelling, WaaMu Northwestern University musical production, National Museum of Mexican Art) and workplaces (NRG Energy, 1871 Tech Incubator, and Kenall Manufacturing)
  • The Parent Leaders Team scored two major victories – approval to pursue a STEM Health Science Pathway at the high school and hiring 2 college counseling resources.
  • Merged with Envision Scholars, college-access program, in 2014
  • Four Parent Leaders were elected to the W2C Board of Directors
  • W2C was selected as a finalist for the Community Based Organization 2015 Examples of Excelencia. This is a national competition with 170+ submissions and W2C was one of only 5 community-based organizations selected as a finalist!
  • W2C received the Axelson Center for Nonprofit Management at North Park University’s 2014 Excellent Emerging Organization Award
  • 2013-2014 School Year

    • W2C celebrated its first college graduate, Evelin Serrano who graduated from Carroll University
    • Twelve college students completed another year of studies
    • Four seniors graduated and are attending Dominican University, St. Augustine College, and College of Lake County.
    • Since 2010, all W2C students have graduated from high school and matriculated to college
    • More than 80% of W2C students either maintained As or Bs in English or improved their grades; 60% of W2C students either maintained As or Bs in math or improved their grades
    • W2C grew to 70 students in 2013-14 up from 25 in 2009
    • Nearly all students (96%) participated in a summer enrichment activity including the prestigious Rosalind Franklin Inspire summer program (medical research with a graduate student and a faculty mentor), Leadership Lab at Augustana College, Northern IL University’s STEM Camp, COOL Summer Learning and Youth Conservation Camp.
    • Volunteers gave over 1400 hours of tutoring and reading assistance
    • The Parent Leaders Team scored two major victories – the hiring of a full-time high school Spanish teacher and construction of a safe drop off lane for students at Jefferson Middle School.
    • Two Parent Leaders were elected to the W2C Board of Directors
    • W2C received the Axelson Center for Nonprofit Management at North Park University’s 2014 Excellent Emerging Organization Award
    • Parent Leadership Team received a nationally recognized award from the Catholic Campaign for Human Development
    • Launched the Falkinham Scholarship, offering a W2C student a 4-year $10,000 per year scholarhsip

     

    2010-2011 School Year

    • 4 of 4 students completed their first year of college and returned in fall 2011
    • 5 of 5 students graduated and began college in fall 2011
    • 1 student inducted into the National Honor Society, 3 students were placed on the high honor roll, 4 students were placed on the honor roll (two made honor roll for the very first time in their lives)
    • 10 students were accepted to summer camps on college campuses. All 10 received full or partial scholarships!

    In order to achieve this impact, Waukegan to College students, families, staff, and volunteers worked hard:

    • 90 hours of one-on-one counseling
    • 7 Saturday workshops
    • 1 group visit to 2 college campuses
    • 1 group service project—Feed My Starving Children
    • Over 400 hours of tutoring
    • Added a Read to Achieve program
    • Added a six-week summer math & English program

     

    Student Accomplishments

    Cecilia was a 10th grader when she joined Waukegan to College.  Determined to be the first in her family to graduate from college, she’s had to overcome many challenges that could have easily derailed her.  Instead, she persevered, and completed her general education requirements at the College of Lake County. Because of her GPA, Cecilia was awarded a generous scholarship from Cardinal Stritch University, and will continue her college career there this semester.  This will be a huge change for Cecilia.  She lives at home, and helps provide for her family through a part-time job.  She worries about leaving her parents and younger siblings, but knows this is something she has to do – for her family and for herself.  She is the oldest child and is hopeful that her younger siblings will follow in her footsteps.  Cecilia eventually wants to go on to earn her master’s degree in school counseling, and hopes to someday guide students towards college the way Waukegan to College guided her.

    Lupita has been in the W2C family since she was in 5th grade. She is thankful to Waukegan to College for opening doors to new opportunities, and owes her many leadership roles to the encouragement of W2C staff and volunteers. Through W2C, Lupita developed valuable public speaking skills and is often a spokesperson for the program during special events. Since joining the program, she has worked diligently to improve her math and reading skills by working twice a week with her faithful tutors, John and Elizabeth McDonald. As a result of this hard work, Lupita is now taking a rigorous college prep course load as a sophomore at Waukegan High School. When Lupita is not excelling in her studies and playing violin, she is starting new clubs. At the young age of 11, Lupita implemented an environmental stewardship program at her elementary school by collecting and recycling old gym shoes. She later brought this program with her to the high school level where she also started both a community service club and a STEM club. Lupita is also a weekly volunteer at the Waukegan Public Library and has been active in the Center for Conservation Leadership programs for the past two summers. Next year Lupita will begin focusing on her college search where she hopes to study natural sciences.

    Gabriel, the younger of two children to a hardworking mother, is an 8th grader at Thomas Jefferson Middle School. At Thomas Jefferson, Gabriel was selected to participate in the Accelerated Scholars Intervention program, a program designed for gifted students. Recently, Gabriel reached his goal of getting on the honor roll for the first time. Gabriel credits his newfound motivation and grit to his participation in the Ideal Student Workshop that he attended over the summer. The workshop, hosted by W2C, helped Gabriel develop strategies for effective studying and learning. Gabriel now understands that it is better to strive for academic excellence than to try to be the class clown. He hopes to follow in his older sister’s footsteps by attending a college of his choice.

    Marlenny is an 8th grader at Jefferson Middle School, having recently transferred there from Daniel Webster Middle School. It’s not easy to leave your friends and change schools, but Marlenny was determined to find a more challenging environment. She now participates in the Accelerated Scholars Intervention program at Thomas Jefferson. And, Marlenny did not stop there; she is using this same determination to pursue a challenging high school. Marlenny dreams of attending Lake Forest Academy and began preparing for the admissions process in August when she started receiving English and math tutoring through W2C for the SSAT entrance exam. She will submit her application to LFA this February. Looking ahead, she is very excited to attend high school and to find new opportunities. She is confident that she will be successful wherever she goes with the support from her family and W2C.

    Elena is beginning her third year at St. Norbert College with plans to major in sociology. After four years of hard work, Elena is living her dream. She started out with average grades, but was determined to reach for the schools she wanted to attend. She advises younger students to enjoy their high school experience, stay strong during difficult times, and work hard. Elena is very excited to take classes that she is passionate about and hopes to find other driven students.

    Elizabeth is a third year college student at Lake Forest College and plans to major in Communications. She is a graduate of Cristo Rey St. Martin College Prep High School and enjoyed her time there while being able to grow in her faith at a Christian school. As she reflects on her high school experience, she passes along the wisdom to work hard now, so that things will be easier as you go along. She currently balances being a full-time college student and working part-time. Elizabeth is a commuter student and lives at home. She hopes that her younger sister who is also in W2C sees that college is a rewarding experience, and Elizabeth strives to be a good model not only for her younger sister but others in her family and community

    Vanessa just finished her first year at Wittenberg College in Springfield, OH. Vanessa is pursuing a degree in biology and intends to focus in on the medical field but not sure what area yet. This summer she’ll be working at a Wittenberg College sponsored camp for students from poor communities. She’ll teach campers Spanish, be their RA, and encourage them to go to college. One of things that helped make a difference for Vanessa was her mentor. A year into W2C, Vanessa was paired with a mentor. Together they worked on time management and organizational skills so that Vanessa could get her school work done, prepare for exams, and still have time for college research, visits, and college and scholarship applications. Vanessa no longer stresses out about her future, and is enjoying the new experiences that going away to college brings.

    Luz is a senior at Waukegan High School. When Luz first entered the program she was shy, and barely spoke during monthly counseling meetings. That’s all changed. With the help of her mentor and W2C staff, Luz has become a more confident person, expresses her dreams, and is involved in school clubs. Last year, Luz earned college credits by attending a math and science camp at Elmhurst College. This year, she’s attending a STEM Camp at Northern Illinois University, and volunteering with W2C to help with office administrative duties. Right now, Luz is leaning toward a career in engineering but knows that college will open up the doors to exploring many other possibilities. When Luz’s grandmother enrolled her in the program back in 2005 she always wished but never imagined this day would come. The Cruz family is living proof that W2C creates brighter futures for students, families, and the community.

    Jared is a 9th grader at Cristo Rey St. Martin College Prep High School and will begin his high school career as a Schuler Scholar!  His favorite part of W2C is “everything!” His dream is to become a mechanical engineer and work on issues in solar energy.  We’re so excited for Jared! It’s exciting to know he’ll have the support of another amazing college prep program and to be able to encourage W2C students to go after their passions and goals!

    Donville a 7th grader at Immanuel Lutheran school, could consistently be our Featured Driver in our quarterly newsletter with the amount of involvement he has in W2C, and the hard work he puts into school, plus extracurriculars. In the past year, Donville has spoken about his W2C experience with the Waukegan Rotary Club, church congregations, a group of current and retired teachers, and in front of more than 200 people at a fundraiser in the fall. He always brings in a report card full of A’s, and maybe the occasional B reflecting his commitment to give 100% to his education. On top of all that, he’s a dedicated basketball player, playing on the AAU Illinois Battlecats Team, as well as at school. His Saturdays are typically spent at a basketball tournament, W2C tutoring, or participating in a community service project. With a heart for serving his community, courage for public speaking, and a keen interest in history classes and military strategy, we can definitely say that Donville has an incredible future ahead of him, and that we’re very proud to have him in W2C.