CHICAGO— At eight high schools in five cities throughout the state, students and faculty will be participating in Illinois College Advising Corps (ICAC) “Decision Day” festivities over the next month. The events honor graduating high school seniors and their decision to continue their education.
Through a partnership between three University of Illinois campuses, the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) and National College Advising Corps (NCAC), Illinois College Advising Corps counselors are serving as near-peer mentors to students at eight Illinois high schools. “Decision Day” celebrations will be held at Springfield Southeast High School (Friday, April 30) and Lanphier High School (Monday, May 3) in Sangamon County; Rantoul Township High School (Tuesday, May 4) in Champaign County; Walter H. Dyett High School (Wednesday, May 5), Roberto Clemente Community Academy (Thursday, May 6), and Gage Park High School (Friday, May 21) in Chicago; plus Round Lake High School (Friday, May 7) and Waukegan High School (Thursday, May 13) in Lake County.
“These events celebrate the culmination of all the efforts of the students, teachers and advisors in preparing these young people for college,” said Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) Executive Director Andrew Davis. “We have thousands of Illinois high school students with the potential to attend and excel in college, but they slip through the cracks. The Illinois College Advising Corps initiative helps students understand that college is an option and helps them go for it.”
Decision Day festivities will be led by recent graduates of the University of Illinois, serving the schools as ICAC advisors. They include Catalina Hernandez, Eduardo Alvarez, James Pipkins, Vanessa Aguilar, Jordan Haley-Wilburn, Krista Shelton, Ryan Martin, and Jennifer Juarez.
The Illinois College Advising Corps started as a pilot program modeled after the National College Advising Corps designed to help high school students in disadvantaged communities apply and attend college through use of “near-peer mentoring,” a program where mentors only few years older than the students they counsel serve as “near-peer” counselors. Near-peers are uniquely qualified to serve as a sounding board for high school students, establish trusting relationships and lead them on the path to college.
Advisors often speak of “first-generation uncertainty,” economic hardship, language barriers, cultural mores, discouragement from family and sometimes even from their own high school counselors. Jennifer Juarez advises students at Clemente High School in Chicago and thanks “my parents for all their sacrifice and extreme support…but the people I want to thank are the people that thought I was not college material. They truly motivated me to continue my studies and prove them wrong.”
Vanessa Segundo, adviser at Round Lake, added, “These experiences give hope to all types of students. Above all, they mark progress for the community; where our youth develop their skills and become professionals. The Illinois College Advising Corps and The Illinois Student Assistance Commission provide an investment in the education of our youth for the benefit of our country.”
The Illinois Student Assistance Commission provides students of all ages and backgrounds with the resources and support to obtain financial aid for higher education. A state agency, ISAC has paved the path to post-secondary education with innovative programs for over 50 years. The commission continued its mission to make college accessible and affordable for Illinois students by administering over 183,000 grants and scholarships totaling over $430 million in FY2009 alone.
The Commission provides educational funding with student loans and via numerous programs such as the Monetary Award Program (MAP), the Illinois Veteran Grant and College Illinois! ® 529 Prepaid Tuition Program. Students and families have free access to a wealth of financial aid and college planning information at ISAC’s family of Web sites available at www.KnowHow2GOIllinois.org.
ICAC DECISION DAY 2010 EVENTS
Friday, April 30: SPRINGFIELD SOUTHEAST
2350 East Ash Street, Springfield, Illinois 62703
ICAC Adviser: Catalina Hernandez
“Life after Southeast”
11:00 am – 12:40 pm
Monday, May 3: LANPHIER
1300 North 11th Street, Springfield, Illinois 62702
ICAC Adviser: Jordan Haley-Wilburn
"Seniors Get Ready"
2:30 pm - 3:17 pm
Tuesday, May 4: RANTOUL TOWNSHIP
2OO South Sheldon, Rantoul, Illinois 61866
ICAC Adviser: James Pipkins
Student Service Center Room E200
11:30 am - 12:00 pm
Wednesday, May 5: WALTER DYETT
555 East 51st Street, Chicago, Illinois 60615
ICAC Adviser: Krista Shelton
1:20 pm - 2:50 pm
Thursday, May 6: ROBERTO CLEMENTE
1147 North Division Street, Chicago, Illinois 60622
ICAC Adviser: Jennifer Juarez
"We Are College Material"
1:30 pm - 3:00 pm
Friday, May 7: ROUND LAKE
800 High School Drive, Round Lake, Illinois 60073
ICAC Adviser: Vanessa Aguilar-Segundo
"Where Panther Pride Shines"
12:50 pm - 3:30 pm
Thursday, May 13th: WAUKEGAN
2325 West Brookside Avenue, Waukegan, Illinois 60085
ICAC Adviser: Eduardo Alvarez
"One Degree Can Alter Your Destination”
10 am – 2:00 pm
Friday, May 21: GAGE PARK
5630 South Rockwell, Chicago, Illinois 60629
ICAC Adviser: Ryan Martin
"Your Destiny Awaits"
11:15 am – 12:00 pm