10,000 Degrees provides students opportunity to become leaders

Josephine Yee

Every Tuesday after school, the College and Career Center hosts meetings for 10,000 Degrees, a college preparatory and financial aid program for qualifying low-income Redwood students. Among the students currently enrolled in the program, two Redwood students are participating in Leadership Corps, a sub-organization of 10,000 Degrees that provides extra support for the program as well as leadership skills.

Implemented several years ago, the primary goal of 10,000 Degrees is to provide an opportunity for less-financially fortunate students to complete a college education by supplying financial aid and college guidance.

“We developed our high school program to provide extra support because before, when we were just giving scholarships, it wasn’t enough to give students money,”  said advisor Kyla Burke, a College Access Fellow and Leadership Corps supervisor on her second year working for the program. “They needed actual help to navigate the college process.”

Junior Eloisa Costa (left) discussing matters with advisor Kyla Burke (right) in the College and Career Center.
Junior Eloisa Costa (left) discussing matters with advisor Kyla Burke (right) in the College and Career Center.

The founders of the program are attempting to expand their impact by implementing Leadership Corps, a program that advocates for 10,000 Degrees by selecting two students from each of a variety of schools located in Marin and Sonoma. There, they are instructed on becoming leaders by taking the initiative to promote the organization and create a presence on their campus so others gain awareness of the services they provide.

“They’re there to provide extra support for 10,000 Degrees, to learn leadership skills, how to be a leader in their community, help us with outreach and with creating a 10,000 Degrees presence on their campus,” said Burke.

Eloisa Costa, a junior at Redwood, is beginning her first year as a member of both 10,000 Degrees and Leadership Corps.

“Our goal at Redwood is to get more people into the program. We also want to get the word out because this is a ‘once in a lifetime opportunity’ that we want people to take advantage of,” said Costa.

According to Costa, Leadership Corps is one of the essential ways to expand the word about this organization.

Another junior that is a part of Leadership Corps, Carl Valdes, is also attempting to help other qualifying students take advantage of 10,000 Degrees. In the past year, Valdes was unaware that the program was in effect at Redwood, but is now aware of its benefits.

“Now that I know what it is, I think that it’s an extremely useful organization for those who are economically challenged. It’s a shame that nobody really knows about it,” said Valdes.

Throughout the school year, students involved in 10,000 Degrees will attend meetings in which they will discuss college preparation through a series of educational workshops. Simultaneously, Leadership Corps will work alongside 10,000 Degrees to create innovative ways to spread the word about the program and its availability at Redwood. They plan to do this through organizing a variety of on-campus promotions such as sponsored events and oral presentations.