SAN DIEGO (KGTV) – College can feel out of reach for many immigrant families in the United States. But with the help from a San Diego non-profit, first-generation high school students are heading to their dream schools.
Kyle Le is one of the dozens of San Diego students with full-ride scholarships through First Gen Scholars. This year’s recipients are heading to schools like Harvard, Standford, and UC Berkey.
The Hoover High School senior will be heading to USD next fall to pursue a career in STEM.
“I’ve seen first-hand how a little kindness can go a long way and I want to be that kindness for other people,” said Le.
Her family came to the U.S. from Vietnam 20 years ago. Since then, they’ve been learning a new language and navigating a new country.
“I used to work 13 hour-long shifts with my father at our family-owned business,” said Le. “I’m really proud that he’s been able to pursue his dreams coming to America.”
Alexis Colmenares has a similar story. He grew up traveling back and forth between Tijuana, Mexico, and Chula Vista.
“The biggest challenge for us has been assimilating to the difficult culture,” said Colmenares.
Going to college was always his plan but he knew he would need help getting there.
“When I saw $300,000 plus for 4 years, I knew I definitely couldn’t pay for this unless it’s a scholarship,” he said.
The varsity athlete and senior class president at Southwest High School got a full-ride scholarship to Columbia University.
“Always reach high, shoot for the stars,” said Colmenares. “Regardless if you hit that target you’re going to end up in an amazing place.”
First Gen Scholars has secured nearly $3 million for students from dozens of ethnic backgrounds. The non-profit proving higher education is always a possibility no matter where you’re from.
Applications for the Class of 2022 seniors are being accepted through June 4. Students must be first-generation and have a 3.0 GPA or higher. To apply, click here.