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Students in the Puente program at Rancho San Juan High School set to graduate

SALINAS, Calif. (KION-TV)- Graduation season is right around the corner but for one local high school, this year's graduation will have special meaning.

A group of seniors that are eager to graduate include those in the Rancho San Juan Puente Program class.

The Puente program helps educationally and economically disadvantaged students enroll in four-year colleges and universities through accelerated instruction, intensive academic counseling, and opportunities for community leadership.

Students in the program share a class together from freshman year into senior year, developing a close bond as they support one another through high school.

“When I started Puente as a freshman, I was struggling with my reading and writing. I don’t have the support I need at home and I felt really hopeless when I thought about my future,” said a student involved in the Puente program. “The support given to me by Puente and my teachers has given me the confidence to get to where I am at now. I wouldn’t have been able to get this far without my classmates either.

Some of the students who are in the program will be attending colleges like Yale University, Brown University and UC San Diego in the fall.

Many of these students in the program have also been awarded significant amounts of scholarship funds and financial aid.

“Now, we get to be those senior students for the younger classmen to look up to," a student involved in the Puente program said. "We hope that they see all that we were able to accomplish, even through the pandemic, and that they feel inspired to do great things while at Rancho and beyond.”

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Derrick Ow

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