“Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.” –Malcolm X
There are 67,000 adults, 25 years old and older, in Salt Lake County, who don’t have a high school diploma, according to the State of Utah. Almost 2,000 of them are enrolled at Horizonte, Salt Lake City School District’s alternative high school and adult education center. They all experience generational poverty and understand the need for at least a high school education. About 400 of them will earn their Horizonte diploma this school year. Of those, many dream of continuing school, applied tech or college, but have no resources.
In the late 1990s, James P. Andersen, then Horizonte principal, his wife Shannon and friends, Doctors Ric and Janet Harnsberger, and other associates, initiated the Horizonte Scholarship Fund, providing scholarships for teen graduates of Horizonte Instruction and Training Center. Every year since, the amount for and the number of scholarships awarded has increased. Adult graduates in increasing numbers are also the beneficiaries. And the hope is, given enough future funds, English as Second Language (ESL) students, bringing academic credentials from their home countries, will also be awarded college scholarships.
Many of the 400 adult graduates above, will apply for Horizonte scholarships, which provide $2,000 for tuition and fees and extra for books. (Current tuition and fees for 15 credit hours at Salt Lake Community College (SLCC) is about $1,800.) If they TABE or Accuplacer Test qualify for the certificate or college program of choice, they receive the Horizonte assistance, which is renewable by maintaining a 2.0 GPA each semester until the certificate or an associate degree is achieved. First come first serve.
Currently, over 100 students (adult and teen graduates) are being assisted by these scholarships. A few are full-time students, most are working and going to school part-time. It’s taking Horizonte graduates over six years to achieve an associate degree and almost three years to earn an applied tech certificate. The goal is support 200.
Many of the 400 adult graduates are not immediately qualifying for their applied tech or college programs of choice. Horizonte provides post graduate tutoring, test prep instruction, and self-directed on-line help. SLCC provides a college readiness (test prep) 30 hour course for $82. Most Horizonte grads can’t afford it. We have worked out a SLCC tuition waiver for 200 students to be matched by a Horizonte mini scholarship of $35 reducing the student cost to $12. We’re sensing this approach combined with Horizonte post grad effort will facilitate more student qualification.
These 400 adult Horizonte graduates represent the most likely individuals to lift themselves in the near future from generational poverty–through education. They are low-income experienced and highly motivated to advance themselves. Let’s give them a hand.