hermanos studentsOn Wednesday, December 9 and Monday, December 14 the Los Hermanos and Las Hermanas program hosted their first annual Noche de Famila for students and their families at South San Francisco High School (SSFHS) and Westmoor High School.  The Los Hermanos and Las Hermanas program is designed for seniors in high school to concurrently enroll in a college class, taking the course after school at their high school campus while enrolled in their respective high schools. In the yearlong program where students explore social awareness, cultural identity, motivation, leadership, and goal setting, while focusing on understanding the community college and four year university systems.

As the night kicked off, families were welcomed by Hermanos and Hermanas students and lively music. Families and students of the program were treated to a delicious dinner that included pizza, fresh salad, refreshments and dessert!

Faculty members and program coordinators Lucy Perez and Alberto Santellan welcomed students and their families and co-facilitated a presentation with Hermanos and Hermanas student presenters.   Noche de Familia was designed to provide families with information about the program, highlight student accomplishments, and share an overview of California’s higher education system.  Topics covered were the educational ladder, college options after high school, and an overview of what Skyline College has to offer.  Families were engaged in what they were learning, at the end of the night one parent said “I wasn’t sure if I was going to come, but I’m glad I did, I learned a lot.”

Additionally several of the students from the Hermanos and Hermanas program stole the show. They had the opportunity to teach their families what they had learned in the classroom.  Students presented statistics on material they learned in class such as current high school dropout rates for Latino students, college attendance rates for Latino students, UC and CSU attendance and graduation rates for Latino students, and lastly persistence rates in graduate schools for Latinos.

Hermanos students who presented at Westmoor High School were, Fausto Avila, Alex Llamas, Joseph Spinetti, Jonathan Palomino, Theo Do Valle, Aldrich Luna, and Gabriel Gonzalez. The Hermanos presenters at SSFHS were Aaron Spooner, Rupinderjit Singh (Harry), Cristian Arias, alongside  Hermanas students Illyana Chavez, Ariana Moreno, and Jackie Lopez.  Additionally, students Barbara Crispin and Cristian Arias at South San Francisco High School and Jose Macia and Theo Do Valle at Westmoor High School shared their own perspectives about their experience in the program.  Cristian Arias saying “The Hermanos program motivated me to earn a Doctorate Degree and increase the number of Latinos graduating from college.”

The Hermanos and Hermanas program continues to thrive as it moves into celebrating its 10th year next fall 2016. Celebrating the partnership between Skyline and the two high schools aligns is valuable as the program aims to support students and their families in their transition to college.

Article and Photo by Alberto Santellan and Lucy Perez