'College Palooza' brings South Bay students support for college applications
As students get ready for their Thanksgiving holiday break next week, high school seniors are also preparing their college applications. The deadline for most four-year universities is Nov. 30.
Amid the hustle and hurry in the hallways of High Tech High Chula Vista Thursday, the senior class participated in a school-sponsored "College Palooza."
“Applying for college can be a stressful time. But 'palooza' just really means it’s an all-day, all-encompassing event," said Michelle Alderete, one of the school's college counselors.
In the past, 'palooza' was a pop culture term often applied to major music events or festivals.
At HTH Chula Vista, the day-long event offered intensive support and resources for students to finish and file college applications. They also got help applying for scholarship money, and were critiqued on those personal essays required by most public and private four-year universities.
Xander Valerio,17, and Sophia DeLeon,17, worked as a team. They have been friends for the 13 years they’ve attended High Tech High Schools. Now, they are preparing for their futures and taking advantage of the support from staff and counselors.
DeLeon has already submitted to Stanford University for an early admissions decision to study architecture.
“I really like math, and I really like art as opposed to reading and writing. I think it’s a great way to combine both of my favorite subjects," she said.
Valerio is also applying to Stanford and five other private universities. But UCLA is his first choice to study business economics. He says it’s a safe space for him to express himself.
“Being able to advocate for yourself, but also connect it to something deeper about yourself, like a passion, is what I wrote about (in one college essay)," he said. "Something that I highly identify with is the fact that I have colored hair. For the longest time, it was pink. I’ve gone through so many colors it’s a testament to who I am.”
The slogan and incentive for the day was “No pie 'til you apply.” Pies were given as a reward for completing as many applications as possible.
“Each student has their own journey and their own goals. So, whatever it looks like, we definitely support them. Success is just having a plan. That’s the most important thing," Alderete said..
There was plenty of pie awarded to the 158 seniors for their palooza progress made Thursday.