Since Llano Grande’s inception, developing students who are prepared academically, socially and culturally for college has been an integral part of our philosophy about creating community change. While test-taking skills, rigorous classes, and good grades are important, our college preparation emphasizes students’ intellectual and social development through an exploration of self and community.
In essence, this idea is what helped to shape Llano Grande when it began in the early 1990s; students, parents and teachers who were frustrated at the lack of expectation that our community held for graduating seniors challenged oppressive paradigms by making college visitation trips to the best universities in the country.
Eventually, more than 60 youth from Edcouch-Elsa over the next 10 years would attend and graduate from Ivy League universities. Today, our youth continue to attend top universities across the country, feeling competent, self-aware and empowered.
At the heart of our college-prep program is the idea that our students are capable of succeeding at any higher education institution and aware enough of their own identity to come back home and help drive the community change they want to see. In fact, many of Llano Grande’s alumni who have graduated from college have returned to become the next generation of leaders.
This philosophy informs the day-to-day college preparation we engage our students in, which also includes workshops for students and parents on the college application process, help with finding financial aid, and meetings with college admissions officers.