|August 10, 2015 • VOL. 53, NO. 14 • Oakland, CA|
| Going back to school with FACE
When school starts later this month at Catholic campuses in the Diocese of Oakland, more than 700 students are heading back with a little help from their friends.
The number of students is up from the previous school year, when 680 students received FACE grants.
In addition to the students heading off to kindergarten through 12th grade, FACE has had a major role in some very special back to schools this month and next.
Of the 75 members of the Class of 2015 who received FACE grants, 95 percent are continuing to two- or four-year colleges and universities. Among the schools the students will be attending are the University of California, Berkeley; UCLA; Howard University; Saint Mary's College; Holy Names University; and the University of Notre Dame.
Sofia Ascencio, a graduate of Holy Names High School, is heading to Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota, a liberal arts college as renowned for its academic excellence as it is for its commitment to community engagement.
"Our core values are internationalism and multiculturalism," said Benjamin Kaufman, a senior who works in the college's admissions office.
Those core values attracted Ascencio. "I was looking for a school that was international," she said, seeking "diversity — culturally, economically and racially — in a small liberal arts college."
She hopes to explore her many interests, which include journalism, art and perhaps law, at the university. She is also going to play volleyball.
Macalester's location, she said, "offers a lot of opportunity to work with kids. There are lots of schools in the area."
Many Macalester students spend time working with children in underserved areas, Kaufman said.
Volunteer work is not new for Ascencio, who worked in the emergency room of UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital in Oakland during her high school years.
At Holy Names, she was a member of the Achieve program, a scholarship program that prepares its scholars for leadership, through academic support, cultural enrichment and community service.
Over the years, her education has received financial assistance from FACE.
"Without that support, I would not be where I am today," she said as she prepared to leave for college later this month. "I'm very, very grateful.
It's nice to know a lot of people are rooting for me and wanting me to do well."
Nearly half of the college-bound FACE recipients come from Oakland or Richmond. More than half identify as Latino and one-fifth as African-American, Lehto said.
FACE is funded largely by an annual gala at which students tell donors of their experiences. Additional funding comes from foundations, including $600,000 from the Crescent Porter Hale Foundation, and generous donors.
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