We received an email earlier this week from Northfield High School Principal Joel ‘Frankie Valli’ Leer, alerting us to the efforts of high school senior Mauricio Lozada and friends to…
Matt Hart, a student in Doug McGill’s journalism class at Carleton College, has written a piece titled Carrying a Torch for Kids Who Dream of College (PDF – full text below).
Carrying a Torch for Kids Who Dream of College
By Matt Hart
In 2001, two third-grade girls from Northfield had a dream.
They would go to college together and be roommates. There was only one problem: Stephanie was a blond-haired, blue-eyed Midwesterner, and Alejandra was Hispanic. Back in 2001, only 18% of Northfield’s Latino population passed the Minnesota Basic Skills Test (BST), a requirement to graduate from high school.
The odds of the girls’ dream being realized looked grim.
That’s not the case anymore though, thanks to the efforts of TORCH, a nonprofit program designed to improve the high school graduation and college enrollment rates of Latino, ESL, and any other would-be first-generation college students in Northfield.
The name stands for “Tacking Obstacles and Raising College Hopes.”
“Students see kids that look like them and are like them making it,” said Beth Berry, coordinator of TORCH at Northfield High School and one of the program’s founders. “And they say, ‘I know her, I know her.’”