¡Gradúate! Program is Open for New Millbrook Applicants


H. Hortman

Explaining an icebreaker for students to learn each other’s names, Mrs. Aleman asks students to share their name and a food that starts with the same letter as their name. This icebreaker offers students a creative way to bond over Hispanic cuisine while also getting to know one another.

Hannah Hortman, Editor-in-Chief

  The ¡Gradúate! Program is an academic support program designed for Hispanic high school students looking to achieve academic success and become professional future leaders. This program is organized through the North Carolina Society of Hispanic Professionals (NCSHP) in partnership with the Wake County Public School System. With only three participating high schools, including Cary and Southeast Raleigh High School, Millbrook is proud to host such an exciting program for their Hispanic students!

  The NCSHP mission is to “promote the education of Hispanic students at all scholastic levels.” Maria Aleman, the NCSHP ¡Gradúate! Coach at Millbrook, is responsible for coordinating all aspects of the program and communicating information to students and families. While the ¡Gradúate! Program has been established at Millbrook since 2013, this is Mrs. Aleman’s first year as Millbrook’s ¡Gradúate! success coach. 

  The ¡Gradúate! Program is made up of three components: after school services, one-on-one coaching, and family engagement. The program will meet every week on Tuesdays and Thursdays after school from 2:30 to 4:00 pm. Mrs. Aleman explains that she wants one day to focus on life skills and lessons and another day to offer tutoring and academic support. Mrs. Aleman also plans to meet with each individual member once a month to check in with their specific needs and goals. In addition, there will be virtual meetings each month to inform families about updates and progress within the program. 

  On Tuesday, November 23rd, the Millbrook ¡Gradúate! Program has an informal meeting to give students an opportunity to get acquainted with one another. During this introduction meeting, Mrs. Aleman focuses on getting students comfortable with each other and taking the time to get to know everyone’s background, personality, and goals for the program. Sophomore Michelle Hurtado-Gomez says, “I will try to concentrate a little more on classes and try to raise my grades.” Freshman Raul Ornelas Rodriguez states that his goal is to “try to graduate and head off to college.” Senior Janer Pena Hernandez says that she would like to “learn about other opportunities for college.” Mrs. Aleman concludes the meeting by stating that she hopes this program will allow her students to “grow in knowledge, grow as a person, and grow in friendship.”

  The ¡Gradúate! Program will officially begin on Tuesday, November 30th. There are currently nine students enrolled in the program, but Mrs. Aleman hopes to achieve a goal of thirty members by the end of the year. Students should consider applying if they meet one of the following criteria: failed a class, missed more than forty periods, cumulative GPA of 1.8 to 2.5, Limited English Proficient (LEP), enrolled in level two or higher of English as a Second Language (ESL), transferred schools in the past year, or exhibit role model qualities in character and/or academics. The last criterion is intended to open up this program to Hispanic students who demonstrate academic success and excellent character, serving as a role model for students looking to improve their academic performance. If a student is interested in applying to the program, they can submit an application here. If they would like more information, they can check out the official website here or contact Mrs. Aleman at [email protected].