Tucson International Academy has teachers, administrators and office staff like every other school. But did you know that TIA created a unique position that most schools don’t have? Because staff at TIA takes their role as a college prep school very seriously, they created the position of Student Success Coordinator. The person in this position has basically one goal: to give individualized attention to each and every TIA student on the way to college. That navigation starts as early as the student’s freshman year but culminates in the actual college and financial aid application process during the senior year.
Again 100% of the Senior Class have been Accepted to College!
With a record number of students in the graduating class this year, the importance of the Student Success Coordinator has truly been appreciated. Every one of the 26 seniors has received at least one, if not multiple, acceptance letters! This continues the rich tradition TIA has of 100% of its graduating seniors being accepted to college. That is an amazing statistic! Compare it to a study conducted by The Arizona Board of Regents a few years ago which found that only 57% of Arizona high school graduates went on to college.
Breaking the Cycle of Poverty
What makes these numbers even more impressive is that most of the students are the first generation in their family to go to college. Financial challenges along with other barriers are being hit head on and TIA students are breaking family tradition in the best way possible! The impact on the families and the community in general is awe-inspiring. For many families, these college-bound students are taking the first steps out of a poverty cycle that has been in place for generations.
Student Success Coordinator
Virginia Watahomigie, TIA’s current Student Success Coordinator, believes that the individual attention given to each student and his or her particular circumstances, abilities and interests is what makes the difference. The key is to make certain each student is given the assistance needed to fill out applications, write the required essays, and explore the financial and scholarship options. The students are given class time to prepare, which not only allows for hands-on assistance from TIA staff, but is also vital, as many students do not have access to a computer or the internet at home.
College Campuses Field Trip
TIA students were also given the opportunity to travel all over Arizona to visit college campuses. They of course visited the University of Arizona right here in Tucson, but also visited Arizona State University and Grand Canyon College in Phoenix and Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff. While in Flagstaff they even headed over for a side trip to the Grand Canyon! This trip helped the students to visualize themselves on a college campus, making the whole dream that much more real.