Ánimo City of Champions Charter High School will send its first graduating class to college in 2021. In just under four years, this tight knit community has prepared its students with dual enrollment opportunities, rigorous coursework, and early college exposure.
Two Ánimo City of Champions students reflect on their high school experience and share how their school set them up for college success.
Drawn to Succeed
Yosabed Alvarez is one of several students celebrating early college acceptances at Ánimo City of Champions. Nearly 10 weeks into her senior year, Alvarez’s dream of studying animation became real, when she received an acceptance letter from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco.
Art has been a part of Alvarez’s life for as long as she can remember. “I’ve always enjoyed drawing, I’ve been drawing ever since I was in the first grade,” she said. In her Junior year, Alvarez was conflicted between choosing an art discipline to pursue college. While she always drew, she had an equal love for filmmaking and fashion design. Her academic counselor, Tyler Williams, guided Alvarez and helped her conduct career and college research to determine which pathway would be best for her. This ultimately led to Alverez choosing a concentration in animation at the Academy of Art University. “Ms Williams made me feel confident in the college application process," Alvarez said. “Everyone at Animo City of Champions encourages you to go to college,” she added.
At Ánimo City of Champions, Alvarez also found confidence amongst her peers. When taking advantage of the dual enrollment program at her high school, Alvarez met a classmate that always stressed the importance of commitment. “She taught me to never give up and to just keep trying,” Alvarez said. And that inspiration has always stuck with her.
Alvarez will be the second person to attend college in her family. Just last year, her oldest sister graduated college. With her sister leading the way, Alvarez feels ready to tackle the challenge ahead. “My sister has not given up on her dreams,” Alvarez said. “And I know for a fact that I don’t want to give up on mine.”
Hayden Jones was one of over 230 transitioning seniors who participated in Senior Bridge, our four-week summer college preparedness course that we offer at no cost to our students. During this summer course, students receive extensive support on their Personal Insight Questions (PIQs) for UC admission essays. Students also have the opportunity to compile their high school extracurricular activities that they would submit during the college application process.
“Senior Bridge is the best move our school could have made,” Jones said. “I have had my PIQs done since early July. And since they’re finished, it has given me time to work on other college applications,” he added.
Of those other applications is a growing list of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). He’s applying to Morehouse College, North Carolina A&T, Florida A&M, and Howard University. “I feel like I could strive better in a community that looks like me,” Jones said. He plans to major in either accounting or finance, which he wants to use to launch his career in real estate investing.
Jones said his high school has equipped him for his journey to and through college. The key factor in his college preparedness is the teachers and staff who supported and encouraged him along the way. “The teachers call to check on me and help me to complete my work, or they call students if they think something’s going on,” Jones said. This community gives him the support he needs to do his best. “City of Champions is a great small high school. Parents that send their students to this school will get hands on attention,” he added.
Since 2016, Ánimo City of Champions has provided Inglewood students with a high-quality education, academic and socioemotional support, leadership opportunities, and a rigorous college-preparatory curriculum. The school serves families in Inglewood alongside Ánimo Inglewood Charter High School, which has served the community for nearly 20 years. Together, these schools provide high-quality public school options to all families in the community.