When Monika Langarica was born, she says her parents liked to think the stars had aligned and she was destined for greatness. But it wasn’t the stars that got her to where she is today – working as an immigration attorney with a nonprofit legal center in Northern California. It was the hard work she put in and the tireless support she received from others while she was a student at The Preuss School UCSD, a charter middle and high school for low-income students who strive to become the first in their families to graduate from college.
“I was never unsure of what I was capable of,” said Langarica, a 2007 graduate of Preuss who is also an alumna of the University of Southern California and UC Berkeley School of Law. “The issue for me was in the insurmountable institutional barriers that don’t give people like me the opportunity to become their most powerful selves.”
As the daughter of Mexican immigrants growing up in a single-parent household that had experienced violence and substance abuse, Langarica faced many obstacles. But a chance to attend Preuss in the sixth grade helped her overcome those obstacles.
“People like me require communities and that’s what Preuss is,” she said. “Preuss was part of the village that gave me access to opportunities and resources that can lead to positive outcomes.”
Langarica will share her story during Preuss’s annual benefit, The Preuss Promise: Changing the Game, on Friday, May 6. The festivities will begin at 6 p.m. at the Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa.
The event starts with a cocktail hour featuring music, science demonstrations and a fine arts exhibit by Preuss students. Guests will then enjoy an elegant dinner with live music.
UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla will speak during the event, which will also highlight The Preuss School’s Campaign for Longer Learning Time. Expanded learning time is a fundamental tenet of the Preuss educational model, enabling the school to create a rigorous academic environment with the support students need to succeed. Preuss students are in school longer each day and for 18 more days a year than the typical student in California, which adds up to almost an entire extra academic year over the course of their middle and high school careers.
“The cost of the extra days of instruction is not covered by the state,” said Scott Barton, principal of The Preuss School UCSD. “Each and every gift to the campaign will help support the longer school day and school year at Preuss, making a tremendous difference to students for generations to come.”
Event co-chairs include Erin and Peter J. Preuss and Svetlana and Matthew Weil. Peggy and Peter Preuss are co-chairing the Honorary Committee. Sponsors include Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa, Flowerchild, Raindrop Marketing, Green Flash Brewing, Mintz Levin, Groovy Like a Movie and Lockton.