Spotlight on Ukiah’s leadership team

December 24, 2016 in Uncategorized by Dikla Tuchman

Jean Lincoln with former Ukiah scholar, Anakaren

Ten years ago, Partnership Scholars Program welcomed a small cohort of students to be the inaugural group in its second northern California location, in Ukiah. A small town about 60 miles inland from Mendocino, Ukiah is the seat of Mendocino County with a high population of low-income, minority families. With the help of the Ukiah Unified School District, PSP began working with five mentors and five students. One of those mentors included retired Mendocino College professor Jean Lincoln. In her first few years as a mentor, Jean worked closely with the program coordinator in Fort Bragg, until it became apparent that Ukiah needed to form its own leadership team. “I saw a lot of potential with the program, but it wasn’t clear where we were going,” says Jean. “We didn’t have a strong identity here in Ukiah. I wanted to have that.”

A few years later, Jean invited a friend of hers, Penny Walker, to become a mentor with PSP as well. Penny had recently retired and was a former instructor at Mendocino College. She saw a need to support students who would otherwise not be college-bound. “I realized that the students needed more support with their college applications and SATs and I wanted to be of better support in that way,” says Penny “Our local high school wasn’t doing anything about SAT prep, and I wasn’t really thrilled with what was available to the kids. I started worrying about their ability to handle applying to private schools.”

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PSP seniors finish out their college applications

December 23, 2016 in Uncategorized by Dikla Tuchman

For high school seniors, this time of the year is jam-packed with semester finals and college application deadlines. PSP seniors have their sights set on the finish line for the latter, with California State University (Cal State) and University of California (UC) applications in and many private school application deadlines coming soon. Last year, PSP’s 44 seniors sent in 145 UC applications, 105 CSU applications, and 60 private school applications. While some seniors feel the pressure, PSP scholars express feelings of relief at having been well prepared and organized, thanks to help from the program and their mentors.

Mendocino High School senior Thae S. is currently completing his Common Application to submit for Northeastern University, Loyola Marymount University, USC, Boston College and Stanford, as well as another independent application for University of Maryland. He has already applied to a number of public universities in California. He, along with other seniors, is applying to several out-of-state private schools due to college visits to the east coast with PSP.

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Alumni Spotlight: Freddy Cordon takes flight

December 23, 2016 in Uncategorized by Dikla Tuchman

Freddy Cordon has had dreams of being a pilot from the age of 10. Every Sunday at church, he would see the same elderly gentleman who, at first, taught him to make paper airplanes and eventually gifted him with books about World War II fighter planes. It was during this formative time in Freddy’s life that he thought he’d someday fly, and it was through the help of PSP that he realized his dream of going away to aviation school in Dubuque, Iowa.

“I went to the information session at lunch, I really wanted to get into the program,” says Freddy recalling his introduction the program. “I had my sister’s help with the essay that I had to write, I turned it in, and got an interview. It’s still to this day one of the scariest things I ever did.” Upon entry into PSP in the 7th grade at Kranz Middle School, Freddy was paired up with his mentor, Ray Andry and two other scholars, David and Elvin. The four spent the next six years together, going on adventures and preparing for the next big chapter: College. “Mr. Andry from the very beginning encouraged us to look at private universities,” says Freddy. “He encouraged us to go out of state – leave home for a while, be independent. So I took that advice from him.”

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Giving thanks to long-time supporters, Malcolm & Sylvia Boyce

November 21, 2016 in Articles by Dikla Tuchman


Nearly 10 years ago, Malcolm Boyce was perusing his Colgate University alumni magazine when he stumbled upon an article telling of a nonprofit organization fellow alumni, Glenn Langer, had founded and was expanding called Partnership Scholars Program. Since retiring, Malcolm and his wife Sylvia had made it a priority to invest their charitable giving in educational organizations. After reading about Dr. Langer’s organization with its mission of college-access for low-income students, Malcolm became intrigued. “It sounded interesting to me, so I got Glenn Langer’s address up in Mendocino County and we talked about it,” said Malcolm. The couple traveled from their home in Lafayette up to meet with Dr. Langer and his wife Marianne and from there began their philanthropic pursuits with the organization. At the outset, they made a small contribution to the organization, which grew over time. “In 2008 [Glenn] suggested that I join the board,” said Malcom, which he did, serving for about five years as a PSP Trustee.

Both Malcolm and Sylvia felt it was important to be active participants in their philanthropy and have maintained relationships with many of the scholars they sponsor, as well as their mentors. “We have followed two or three groups through the program and have seen them go off to college,” says Malcolm. “We’ve gotten to know most of the mentors, which is a big help. At the end of the day, the quality of the mentor is the most important thing in the organization.” Sylvia echoes Malcolm’s sentiments, calling the mentors she’s had the pleasure of getting to know in Mendocino an “energetic and dedicated group.”

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Mentors Barb and Mark Lurie give it their all

November 21, 2016 in Articles by Dikla Tuchman


Barbara (Barb) Lurie discovered Partnership Scholars Program about four years ago while helping a friend, Dr. George Ferenczi, find a local organization to invest in. “I did some research and found out about the PSP program,” says Barb, recalling that a relative of a friend was involved in the program and initially introduced her to PSP.  After connecting George with organization’s founder, Dr. Glenn Langer, Barb decided that she and her husband Mark Lurie would become volunteer mentors and started working with students in Lennox.

Now, Barb and Mark team up together as co-mentors and have taken on some of the program’s older scholars. “The first year we got ‘orphans’ who had lost their mentors,” says Barb. “Our first scholars are now juniors in college; they were juniors in high school when we got started.” Having kept up with the now college students, Barb and Mark get together with their former scholars from time to time for dinner. “The biggest pleasure now is to get together with some of the kids that we started with who are in college now,” agrees Mark.

Allowing many of their students to have opportunities they wouldn’t otherwise have is central to their mentorship with PSP. “We have one kid whose father was completely disabled by a stroke, his mother didn’t speak English and cares for his father,” says Barb. “It was really gratifying to get to expose him to things he wouldn’t normally get to do.” She adds, “When we signed up to be mentors, we were hoping to enrich the students’ lives a bit but we didn’t realize how much we ourselves would be enriched.” As the two do not have children of their own, they have found mentoring to be an eye-opening experience, giving them insight into “what it’s like to have teenagers.”

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Spotlight on PSP senior: Erick Pech

November 18, 2016 in Articles by Dikla Tuchman

queen-mary-erick-pechHawthorne Academy senior Erick Pech has been keeping himself busy this year with school clubs, a part-time job and, most importantly: Upcoming college decisions. Erick has proven himself to be an outstanding student and was nominated by Partnership Scholars Program to be a 2016 Posse Scholar earlier this year. One of three nominees from PSP’s senior class, Erick underwent a highly competitive, rigorous interview process and is now amongst a small pool of semifinalists.

With his mentor, John Ely, Erick has been able to visit several college campuses and participate in activities that he calls a “nice distraction” from the pressures of school. Erick is exploring many college possibilities, focusing first on his University of California and California State University applications. “At the moment I’m thinking about biomedical engineering,” says Erick, considering private, out-of-state options as well, including Dickenson College. After visiting the school during PSP’s New York trip in the summer of 2015, Erick became interested in Dickenson’s three-two year program. “You do three years at Dickenson and then finish off two years at their partner school,” says Erick. In the meantime, Erick is working with his mentor and John’s wife, Meg Sanchez, on applications and letters of recommendations.

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PSP’s Scholar Abroad: Spotlight on Jonas Anderson

October 26, 2016 in Articles by Dikla Tuchman

ja-2There is bravery in venturing out of one’s comfort zone. The Partnership Scholars Program in large part focuses on fostering this very bravery in our scholars, encouraging them to try new things, explore all possibilities and answer when opportunity knocks. Upon entry into PSP, many students in the program find it hard to imagine leaving their small communities, let alone traveling across the country. Some see the scholarship as a means to begin exploring the world. One such scholar is Jonas Anderson, recent Ukiah High School graduate and current Rotary International Youth Exchange Ambassador in Paraguay where he is studying for a year before starting college.

Jonas first heard about the Rotary Youth Exchange program two years ago when a friend applied. At the time, Jonas’s mother was working for a local nonprofit organization that was doing a presentation for the exchange program and asked Jonas if he was interested in applying. Having taken four years of Spanish in high school, studying in Paraguay or Argentina made sense to him. “Most people do their junior year of high school,” says Jonas. “I was a little late to that, so I got everything out of the way early.” Jonas completed all of his high school requirements last year and walked with the graduating class of 2016.  Essentially, his year in Paraguay functions as a “gap year” as he continues to take high school classes through the exchange program beginning college in the United States next fall. “Right now what I do is I go to school five days a week at a high school here and I try to follow along in Spanish and Guarani, the indigenous language,” says Jonas.
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Spotlight on Past Board Chair Bruce McDaniel

October 26, 2016 in Uncategorized by Dikla Tuchman

bruce-mcdaniel-2When Partnership Scholars Program was forming in 1996, Dr. Bruce McDaniel was entering his first year as the Superintendent of the Lennox School District. Along with then-Assistant Principal of Lennox Middle School and current PSP Board Chair Meg Sanchez, Bruce was approached by PSP’s founder, Dr. Glenn Langer, with an opportunity to support the creation of this new college-access program. While familiar with other mentorship programs, Bruce saw PSP as having the potential for an even greater impact on students. “The notion of pairing up scholars with mentors was something that I was strongly in favor of and that I knew was a successful way of assisting students,” says Bruce. “At that time we had a mentoring program at the middle school, but this was doing far more mentoring with far more resources and following it up through the end of high school.” The benefits were clear to Bruce and he sanctioned PSP’s formation.

Initially, Bruce’s involvement in the program was relatively limited. “Each year I would go to the induction and events like that, and provide my support [of PSP] continuing in Lennox,” says Bruce. It wasn’t until 2010 when Bruce retired that he became not only a supporter of the program, but a deeply involved volunteer and member of the organization’s leadership. After 15 years of working alongside PSP, he was asked to join the Board of Trustees. “I knew the program was highly successful and I felt I had some things to offer in terms of my background and the connections I had made as superintendent,” says Bruce. “As a person entering retirement it was a nice way of keeping involved in the community I had worked with for so many years.”
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Spotlight on El Monte regional coordinator, Arlene LeGaspe

October 4, 2016 in Uncategorized by Dikla Tuchman

img_3795Not many know the story of how Partnership Scholars Program spread from Lennox, California to the community of El Monte in the San Gabriel Valley east of Los Angeles. But Arlene LeGaspe knows it well. A native to El Monte, Ms. LeGaspe helped lead the way in expanding the burgeoning college-access program, thanks to the advocacy of former Charles T. Kranz Intermediate School principal, Sal Gumina. Mr. Gumina was inspired to replicate the program after meeting PSP founder Glenn Langer at Lennox Middle School. He saw PSP’s growing success in a community he equated with El Monte and wanted to take the show on the road. In 1999, with the support of new funding, Partnership Scholars was launched at Kranz Intermediate with Arlene LeGaspe at the helm.

When approached with the prospect of a new mentorship program to support students in their pursuit of higher education, LeGaspe got right on board. “The principal [Les Mason] asked if I could do it,” says LeGaspe. “Anything I could do for the kids was fine by me.” She had been a teacher at Kranz since 1992 and saw a critical need for a college-access support for students at her school. She and five other mentors took on ten scholars and the program took off from there. Her initial involvement centered around bringing mentors on board and finding qualified students to receive scholarships. The program continued to grow under the leadership of the next principal and current Assistant Superintendent for Educational Services, Ray Andry, and today enjoys great support under the current principal, Sean Grycel. With the program’s expansion, LeGaspe has been instrumental in forging relationships with the El Monte high schools, coordinating between administration, mentors, students and the community.

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Moving on up: PSP Scholars transition to high school

October 4, 2016 in Uncategorized by Dikla Tuchman

high-schoolSchool is back in session and we’re looking forward to a year of learning and growing for all of our scholars. For rising freshman, the transition to high school can be challenging as students navigate a new school and more rigorous coursework. Many 9th graders have been finding the leap from middle to high school less overwhelming thanks to preparation and advice from their PSP mentors.

Scholar Andy P. transitioned from Kranz Intermediate to South El Monte High School this year and says the transition was smooth for him. “At the start of the school year, I was confused about my classes,” says Andy. “PSP helped me get my classes sorted out and get my classes on time.” Lizeth V. is the lone PSP scholar at her new high school, Lawndale High, but has felt very supported by her mentor, Jessica Lawson, who helped her prepare, talking with her through the transition about what she needs to do in high school to apply for colleges in the coming years.

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