October 20, 2021
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College mentorship for disadvantaged Laguna seniors

By: Brandon McCapes
July 2, 2021

A new program geared towards increasing post-secondary education rates will soon be implemented at Laguna High School.

West Sonoma County Unified School District board members voted unanimously to enter into a contract with 10,000 Degrees, a non-profit that promotes college education among first- and second-generation high school students.

Laguna Principal Allie Greene said 10,000 Degrees works by hiring recent college graduates to serve as near-peer college advisors for participating schools. The advisor will be on campus most of the week to work with seniors and encourage them to pursue college. The advisors will counsel students on college awareness, and help them with financial aid and applications.

While the counselor is meant to be an example to specific marginalized communities, they will help all students at Laguna High School regardless of their background. Greene said that schools that employ 10,000 Degrees see college persistence rates among the targeted demographic which are eight times higher than schools without the program.

“We know our kids need help and they need support, and the more education they have the more life security they have,” Greene said. “Every single diploma or post-secondary training they have, they have more stability and another opportunity to get out of generational poverty. So, for me, it’s like how could we not do this?”

10,000 Degrees will also provide a scholarship to Laguna graduates who pursue post-secondary education. Funded by the district and dispersed through the nonprofit, the scholarships will be awarded for up to three years as long as the student is enrolled in college.

“10,000 Degrees has a mission to achieve educational equity and support students with need to access and complete higher education to positively impact their communities and the world,” a WSCUSD agenda supplement reads.