Class of 2011 at The Preuss School Looks Forward to New Challenges
Charter School to be represented at all ten UC campuses by Class 2011 graduates
Kim Wenrick | June 13, 2011
Preuss alumna Jackie Nguyen and her mentor, former Senator Lucy Killea, were reunited at the recent Preuss School benefit celebration.
They arrive daily from 41 different zip codes in San Diego County. Many travel hours on trolley and bus just to make the trip to
The Preuss School UCSD, a unique charter middle and high school founded 13 years ago to provide rigorous college preparatory education
to low income, highly motivated students from throughout the county. Their background and their neighborhoods may vary, but
they all share a common goal: They are striving to become the first in their families to graduate from college.
That goal is now is sight for 92 Preuss seniors. Ninety-five percent of the class of 2011 has been accepted to four-year colleges or universities.
Eighty-one percent were accepted to at least one UC campus, and six seniors will attend UC San Diego. In fact, The Preuss School UCSD will be
represented at all 10 of the UC campuses by 30 seniors in all. Other top colleges like Harvard, Georgetown, Duke and Johns Hopkins are
also among the choices for this year’s Preuss grads.
“These are remarkable young people who rise above countless obstacles to become the first generation in their families who will
receive a college education,” said Scott Barton, principal of The Preuss School UCSD.
With funding for college at a premium, Preuss seniors achieved great success in finding scholarships as well. Approximately $2 million in award money was received by
this year’s class, including four Gates Millennium Scholarships, which provides all educational expenses through undergraduate and graduate school to 1000
students nationally each year.
Alexander, who will attend Harvard University, is the first in his family to be born in America. His parents emigrated from the East African country of Eritrea, which has been ravaged by war for many years. While at Preuss, Alexander undertook independent research at the Sanford-Burnham Research Institute and, after college, plans to go on to medical school and, eventually, to work with Doctors Without Borders in Eritrea to help establish a modern system of healthcare there.
Tammy, who will attend UC Berkeley, grew up in a single-parent household, her mother coming to the United States from Mexico to find a better life. While at Preuss, she participated in a program called Health Information Partners, a three-week residential program at UC San Diego offered only to Preuss students. Tammy was able to explore different fields of medicine during her study and, as a result plans to become a pharmacologist.
Erick, also raised by a single mother, will attend Duke University. He found his passion for engineering while at Preuss. He was a leader and coach on the Preuss Robotics team. The Preuss Robotics program is the first of its kind in San Diego County where students design and build their own robots and compete nationally.
Irma, who will attend the University of Southern California, participated in the Sanford-Burnham Institute for Medical Research internship during the summer before her senior year. It was a seven-week paid internship during which eight interns contributed to research on diabetes cells at UC San Diego. After earning her bachelor’s degree, Irma plans to conduct research that will lead to treatments for diseases that have yet to be cured.
The earliest Preuss graduates have completed their bachelor’s degrees and still like to return to the high school that shaped their lives and opened doors of opportunity. At the recent Preuss school benefit celebration, one such graduate spoke. Jackie Nguyen (class of 2006) said, “The Preuss School represents opportunity, the opportunity to become anything we want through higher education and to exceed above and beyond society’s expectations.” After graduating from California State Fullerton, she performed in the national tour of How the Grinch Stole Christmas and is pursuing musical theatre in Los Angeles and New York.
The Preuss School UCSD offers an extracurricular robotics program, which competes in national robotics tournaments.
The Preuss School UCSD will celebrate graduation at 4 p.m., June 30 at the school’s Manchester Field. With 820 students in grades 6-12, The Preuss School has an exemplary Academic Performance Index Score (API) of 885, one of the highest in the county.
The Preuss School UCSD has been consistently ranked as one of America’s best high schools by Newsweek, the Washington Post and U.S. News and World Report. The school, located on the UC San Diego campus, is jointly chartered by UC San Diego and the San Diego Unified School District.