The Merced College Office of Student Engagement and Outreach hosted its fourth annual breakfast for high school administrators on Sept. 21. Hosted on the second floor of the Learning Resource Center, the breakfast presents an opportunity for Merced County high school counselors and administrators to get together with Merced College personnel and collaborate on how the two can better serve their students.

Director of Student Engagement & Outreach Ivan Peña hosted the event, which focused primarily on requirements for high school students to attend and find success at Merced College. Peña also emphasized the Community College Promise, which allows first-year, full-time students the opportunity to waive their tuition for their first year.

“We want to let them know that we want them here.” Merced College Superintendent/President Chris Vatelli said to the gathered administrators. “We want the faculty to share that message with the students, and that whatever their educational goal is, we want to help them pursue that.”

Presenters throughout the breakfast supplied the high school counselors with all the relevant info to help prospective students make a plan for their academic futures. This included an introduction to Guided Pathways (GPS), which gives students a clear direction with which to follow during their time at Merced College. They also displayed program maps that explored the steps each student can take in ensuring their success.

“There’s a huge comfort in knowing we’re all on the same page.” Merced High School guidance counselor Regina Newton-Cherf said, “It’s critical that we all have this information, so we can ensure our students make it to that next level.”

Some of those students were even involved in the breakfast. Following the initial presentations, a panel of three students discussed their experiences in connection to Merced College. The first was a high school student preparing to attend in Fall 2019, the second was a current Merced College student in the process of transferring to a four-year university, and the third was a Merced College alumnus who transferred and graduated from UC Berkeley. That graduate, Morgan Lincoln, explained how her experiences both at Merced College and Berkley inspired her to present on Friday.

“It’s such a huge honor.” Lincoln said, “The ability to share my experience from both a transfer perspective and a graduate is wonderful. Hopefully it gives some insight that will help the new class.”

-- Alessandria Pedretti