The executive director of First Graduate, a nonprofit that enrolls youth in a 10-year program to finish high school and become the first in their families to graduate from college, is organizing its fifth annual Cap & Gown fundraising event at San Francisco City Hall on May 7.
Why first-in-family graduates? We work with first-generation college students because parents’ education is the most important factor in academic attainment of the child.
How do you foster the interests of first-generation students? We need to honor their interests and really delve a little bit further into their strengths and try to figure out what keeps them interested.
How interactive are their parents? The common theme was they had parents who were just not engaged. So we have orientations and at least two workshops a year.
What attitude toward school do the students usually have? One of the most common excuses we get from them about their grades are, “Me and my teacher just don’t get along.” By having a staff person in contact with their teachers, when they know that there’s somebody else working with them, it’s likely to get the teacher to be a little bit more generous with their time, too.
— Kamala Kelkar