May 01, 2019

TGR Learning Lab Student Spotlight: From College Bound Academy to College

The College Bound Academy Cohort ended the program prepared for a successful senior year in high school.

Last summer, I took the first steps of my college journey by signing up for College Bound Academy (CBA) at the TGR Learning Lab in Anaheim, CA. Coming from the Philippines, I grew up with no prior knowledge of the U.S. education system. As the oldest among my siblings, I had to turn to my friends for guidance. I followed their actions in hopes that what I was doing was right, but I realized that I shouldn’t be dependent on them. From then on, I took charge of my life and made myself responsible for my future.

Maureene and her friends in College Bound Academy took a break to rest during college tours at the Claremont Colleges in Southern California.

Prior to attending CBA, I will admit that I was another high school student who rode the wave of procrastination and mindless wandering when it came to preparing for college. Throughout the two weeks in the summer and over several workshops during the school year, the program provided a warm and welcoming environment. I can remember the moment I decided to push my fears and my embarrassment aside to ask Mrs. Jover and Ms. Peña for help. Although it may be their job to aid us in the college application process, I genuinely felt welcomed.

Maureene also gained friendships through the program.

I found a positive environment where I could connect with knowledgeable staff and reconnect with my peers who were also navigating the college application journey. Beyond preparing us for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and understanding the different types of colleges that are out there, I learned how to become a stronger advocate for myself, more understanding toward my peers and better prepared as I start a new chapter in my life.

During College Bound Academy students participated in Disney’s Approach to Leadership and Teamwork program.

Being able to take part in what the TGR Learning Lab provided was a privilege and an honor. As I reflect back on what College Bound Academy has taught me, I feel proud of all I have accomplished over the year. Being able to personally schedule appointments to talk to college counselors and visit the campuses felt liberating during a time of uncertainty. Not only have I learned to take charge of my own future, but I have gained confidence in helping my peers and siblings prepare for college.

Maureene and her peers from College Bound Academy and the TGR Learning Lab’s after-school programs celebrated all they accomplished and the next steps in their academic journey as they prepare for college in the fall.

I also came away from the program realizing that I need to take advantage of the opportunities that are being offered to me because sometimes these are opportunities of a lifetime. The impact CBA had on me truly materialized my senior year of high school. Taking what I learned from the program, I was able to successfully land a feature article in my school’s newspaper, I communicated and applied for a job at Cal State Fullerton’s Diversity Initiatives and Resource Center and overall grew as a person. I am proud to say that the TGR Learning Lab has provided so many resources and lessons that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

Maureene addressed her peers and families as the keynote speaker during the TGR Learning Lab’s Senior Recognition Night.

As I prepare for my fall semester at Cal State Fullerton, I realize now that College Bound Academy not only guided me on my path toward college but helped me grow in confidence. I am filled with anticipation and excitement thinking about college and the changes that await me. Although there were many struggles along the way to get where I am, the support of my family, friends and the TGR Learning Lab has taught me to keep fighting.

Maureene is grateful for the support of her family who was there to watch her address the audience and celebrate her success.

Redefining what it means to be a champion.