|August 12, 2013 • VOL. 51, NO. 14 • Oakland, CA|
FACE scholar is on her way to Amherst
If it takes a village to raise a child, Ana Ascencio, upon her graduation from high school, wanted to take a moment and thank the villagers who have helped her grow up.
Ana Ascencio is one of 54 members of the Class of 2013 in Diocese of Oakland high schools whose education journeys have included continuing support in tuition assistance from FACE, Family Aid — Catholic Education.
FACE has been a form of financial support through her days at St. Elizabeth Elementary School and Holy Names.
"I have received a lot of support from my parents," said the second eldest in the family of four daughters. "My family would not have been able to send us to Catholic school. I wouldn't have had the same opportunities as I had at St. Elizabeth and Holy Names."
She has also been part of the Achieve Program at Holy Names High School. Achieve, a program dedicated to preparing young men and women for leadership roles, provides academic support as well as cultural and community service programs year-round.
Achieve assisted her in getting an internship at the Lawrence Hall of Science in Berkeley, where she spent her summer guiding youngsters through Design Quest, a new exhibit.
Ascencio is interested in environmental science, and hoping to perhaps double major at the college.
"I really like science and math," said Ascencio, who doesn't envision herself sitting in an office all day, but rather doing research — "hands-on work" — and traveling.
Last summer, a hands-on research experience in the rainforest in Puerto Rico helped clarify her plan. "Catching frogs and lizards made me realize that's the kind of thing I want to do."
Ascencio said she started looking at colleges after her freshman year of high school. "Amherst felt like my idea of a small liberal arts college, lots of personal attention and interaction with students from around the country."
Invited to visit the school, at Amherst's expense, she stayed on campus this spring. "It was a really nice weekend," she said.
She looks forward to beginning her studies there, and, before that, she hopes to attend tryouts for the volleyball team and become a walk-on player.
Beyond that, she knows she will give back. Part of that determination comes from her mother. "A lot of her commitment to equal access to education passed on to me," she said.
Ascencio had a taste of mentoring last fall when incoming Achieve students sought her advice. "I was surprised how good it felt to be that person they could talk to," she said.
Whether she's a donor, tutor or mentor, she said, "Somewhere down the road I'll find my own way of giving back."
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