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home : education : education Monday, November 20, 2017

7/19/2016 10:55:00 AM Email this articlePrint this article 
Hmong College Prep Academy Wrapping Up Another Yale Summer Institute

By Dave Bonko

Mentors at this year's HCPA Yale Summer Institute, rising sophomore Kate Tanawattanacharoen, junior Adriana Gradilla and senior Sasah Rae-Grant.
HCPA students get feedback from their Yale Summer Institute mentor Adriana Gradilla.
Hmong College Prep Academy's 2016 Yale Summer Institute - a summer program that assists HCPA students with their college selection and application process - is drawing to a close. The Institute features mentors from Yale's Bulldogs Across America, an alumni-lead program that provides students with internship opportunities in nine U.S. cities.

The six-week long program focuses on providing HCPA students with college selection and application activities such as:

• Preparing for college entrance exams. Of note: Many students' average ACT prep test scores increased over the course of the program; some as high as eight points.

• Researching financial aid opportunities.

• Composing scholarship and college entrance essays.

• Applying to a college. The final part of the session intensely focused on investigating and selecting a specific college.

• Students also featured math, creative writing and science activities.

"We are very proud of this year's Yale Summer Institute participants," stated HCPA Superintendent Dr. Christianna Hang. "Not only did they learn a lot about how to pick the college that's right for them, participants really improved in their test-taking, writing and communication skills. HCPA is very grateful for the work this year's Yale mentors did for our students."

The 2016 Yale mentors are:

• Adriana Gradilla, a senior from Pico Rivera, CA who is majoring in History

• Sasha Rae-Grant, a junior from Cleveland, OH who is majoring in American Studies

• Kate Tanawattanacharoen, a rising sophomore from Eau Claire, WI who is investigating a Global Affairs major

All of the 2016 Yale mentors spoke highly of their experiences at Hmong College Prep Academy.

"The atmosphere here at HCPA is amazing!" stated Kate. "It's the best I've ever seen within a school. It truly feels like one community here. The last day of school, all of the teachers went outside and waved good-bye to their students for the summer. It shows how much the teachers care about their kids. I was really impressed."

Adriana and Sasha were impressed with HCPA students' work ethic.

"It's obvious the students were here to learn," stated Adriana "They were excited to be here." Sasha added, "It was great to work with the kids and see their test scores improve. I really liked that my position allowed me to see the direct affect of my work. Plus, the students were so enthusiastic. I know I wouldn't have been as engaged back when I was their age."

For the mentors, learning about Hmong and Karen culture was a great part of their Summer Institute experience.

"A main goal for me was to learn about Hmong and Karen culture," stated Kate. "I was amazed to see how important the role their families play within their lives. Keeping in mind all of the trials and tribulations faced by the Hmong people, their culture is very strong and established." Sasha added, "For me, it was great to have the students teach me about their culture. They would come in on Monday and tell me about the family and cultural things they did over the weekend."

HCPA students have enjoyed this year's Yale Summer Institute.

"The Yale Summer Institute has been a great experience. I've learned so much!" said 9th grader Kashia Xiong. "For example, I didn't know if someone asks for your social security number when you're talking to them about financial aid, it's a scam. Also, your ACT score is based on the questions you got correct. Plus, the program provided us with a really good checklist to make sure we pick the right college."

"I really liked the college visits," added 9th grader Ehlertoo Daw. "We visited St. Olaf, Carlton and University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. Tomorrow, we're going up to Duluth to take a look at St. Scholastica. The college visits are great because you get a real feel for what the campus is like."

Ehlertoo really liked St. Olaf because "it had a lot of great space and it seemed like everyone trusted each other. I like trust." Kashia enjoyed UW-Eau Claire because of the school's large Hmong student population. "Eau Claire seemed like a great place to learn about the Hmong community and its culture from other students."

HCPA's 2016 Yale Summer Institute will come to a close on July 8th.

Since its inception, Hmong College Prep Academy has been providing its students with a well-rounded education in an environment that features individualized programs and small class sizes. Located at 1515 Brewster Street near the Minnesota State Fairgrounds, HCPA is now accepting K-12 registrations for the 2016-2017 school year. Interested parties can contact HCPA at 651-209-8002 or on the web at www.hcpak12.org.

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