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Published on December 2, 2014

28 SLCC MAGAZINE | FALL 2014 S tephanie Coria’s $500 scholarship, like scholarships for many students who in recent years attended an alternative high school in Salt Lake City, was in danger of going unused. But a short class offered this past spring at Salt Lake Community College to students and graduates of Horizonte Instruction and Training Center is helping to make sure those scholarships are put to good use. Referred to informally as a “bridge” class, it helped Coria and about 20 other students learn a few basics and logistics about enrolling in and attending college. “I would have lost (the scholarship) if I didn’t come to this class,” admitted Coria, 18, of Salt Lake City. Educators had blamed the broader scholarship-to-college disconnect among Horizonte Scholarship Fund recipients, which includes Coria, on language barriers, peer pressure, limited access to desired classes, income issues, lack of knowledge of course requirements and the difculties associated with being a rst-generation college student. It’s why Horizonte and SLCC decided to build the “bridge” class, designed to guide scholarship recipients through what organizers of the course say is the sometimes time-consuming, confusing and complex college enrollment process. The class was offered for the rst time this past spring to 46 Horizonte students, who received Horizonte Scholarship Fund monies, the chance to visit SLCC’s South City Campus in Salt Lake City three days a week for one hour in the morning each day for 6 weeks. The scholarships do not require that recipients attend SLCC, but it is where most of the students end up starting out their college career. Kimball Young, who is on the Scholarship Fund’s board of directors, said the goal of the class was to get participants ready for college life. “It turned out to be a very, very positive experience,” Young said. “We’re going to be very successful in educating a larger percentage of our Hispanic population.” Of the 46 students, about three quarters were Hispanic – 27 were high-school age, and the rest were adults 18 and older. They were given access to people at SLCC who helped them with registration, academic advising and nancial aid as well as tutoring in writing. On the last day of the class, students wore a graduation medal, which Ana Nielsen, 50, said she was going to take with her to her native Columbia and show her mother. “I’m going to show my mom I was working hard,” she said. Nielsen, who now has a six-year-old son, moved to the United States when she was 35. Once upon a time, she dreamed of being a doctor, but it never came to fruition. Now she wants to be a health information specialist, starting with classes at SLCC. “I did this for me, my son and for my future,” Nielsen said about graduating from Horizonte and completing the bridge class. “They didn’t have to do this,” said Kevin Miller, SLCC director of student conduct and support. “But they found the value in helping them prepare for college.” Bridge helps Horizonte students feel “I do belong here” SLCC OPPORTUNITIES