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St. Mark's School of Texas
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The Student News Site of St. Mark's School of Texas

ReMarker

The Student News Site of St. Mark's School of Texas

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Pulido guides underprivileged students to higher education

Director of College Counseling Veronica Pulido has helped countless students with college applications. In addition, she is a member of the Future Leaders Program, where she can use her expertise to assist students in their journey to higher education.
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Veronica Pulido
STUDY TIME Students across the school — and the nation — are vying for a competitive advantage for the most selective colleges.

The college application process is notoriously frustrating. For people who do not have a strategy through the maze of admissions, it might seem impossible to navigate successfully.

Even more obstacles arise when students can’t afford essential college-prep programs that have the potential to boost standardized test scores. In some cases, the lack of resources and constant stress prove to be too heavy of a burden, and not following through with college applications appears to be the most viable option.

In order to tackle these systemic issues within the admissions process, the Brewer Foundation’s Future Leaders Program (FLP) provides students with valuable support along the journey.

Veronica Pulido, Director of College Counseling, joined  the program and its mission several years ago. As a teacher in FLP, Pulido also currently acts as a liaison between it and the school.

“I’ve been a part of the Future Leaders Program since the inception of seniors. This has been a program that’s been around for 15-16 years already,” Pulido said. “It definitely is another opportunity to really encourage and to support, and for students that may or may not have resources to look at college counseling, in particular, from different DISD schools.”

Along with college counseling help, the Future Leaders Program aims to prepare students from ages 12 to 18 in school, offering tutoring in various subjects.

“Almost every Saturday, we’ll have a different lesson for each of the programs,” Pulido said. “And so lots of teachers, [including] a DISD teacher and potentially a private school teacher will co-teach with each of the classes.”

These classes teach many topics, ranging from algebra to psychology to film. However, when students start to reach junior and senior year the classes start to shift.

“The emphasis is college in general. We’ll bring in guest speakers, college admission reps and different people who can assist on different levels,” Pulido said. “And it is their opportunity for four hours on Saturday to take advantage of the time commitment.”

As college enrollment continues to decrease nationwide, some students are still left with unanswered questions.

“We help them by breaking it down further in terms of ‘why are we going to college?’ or ‘what is a major and what does it even mean to have a major or a minor?’,” Pulido said. “It seems like common sense, but if a student is a first-generation college student, they’re just not going to have a lot of information. They’re not going to know some of these things.”

In addition to learning about college fundamentals, FLP also guides students through the rigorous admission process.

“We’ll start in the summer for seniors to get to know the student so the student feels more comfortable even opening up for an essay,” Pulido said. “Everybody has to be vulnerable in terms of making that connection with a student and to say, ‘I’ve already gone to college, this is all about you.’ But let me learn more about you and establishing that relationship.”

Angel Campos, a sophomore attending the School for the Talented and Gifted at Townview, originally joined the program to specifically prepare for standardized tests he plans to take, such as the PSAT and SAT. And ever since then, he has actively participated in the program and now views his academic progress as a sign to keep going.

“I only have two years of high school left, and I really want to continue doing this,” Campos said. “This program has really opened my mind more, and I’ve been able to improve in the classroom. My teachers noticed and told me about this too.”

Campos believes that the program is a valuable opportunity for students to take advantage of if they wish to better develop and sharpen their academic skills.

“I want to tell people that they should definitely consider joining the program,” Campos said. “The thing with FLP is that some people don’t want to wake up early on Saturdays and want to sleep in after a long week of school. But for me, I thought it could really help me with college. So I decided to go that first Saturday. We started learning a ton of stuff, and the teachers were awesome.”

Since the start of FLP, the program has helped many students similar to Angel, and that number continues to grow. After working with so many students throughout the years, Pulido has seen many dreams come to fruition.

“We get to know the students on an individual basis, you know, especially what a student has gone through,” Pulido said. “Getting that phone call or getting that text from a student that they’ve matched to a college, it is just amazing to be able to have worked with the student and to have that match.”

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About the Contributors
Kevin Ho, Staff Writer
Joseph Sun, Academics Editor