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Entries in graduation (3)


MSNBC, "82 Santa Ana High School Students Beat the Odds, Applauded by Orange County Community and Business Leaders"

Nicholas Academic Centers (NACs) Honor College-Bound Class of 2012 and Their Achievements as They Head to the Nation's Top Tier Universities



SANTA ANA, CA — Behind each beaming smile is a story of rising above challenges and exceeding the potential to achieve academic success, independence and pride. From hopelessness to self-determination, 82 high school graduates from Santa Ana received well-deserved recognition at the 4th Annual Nicholas Academic Centers' Graduation Celebration held at the Westin South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa.

Dr. Thelma Melendez de Santa Ana, Santa Ana Unified School District Superintendent, Dr. Donald Cardinal, Dean of the College of Educational Studies at Chapman University, and Miguel Pulido, Mayor of the City of Santa Ana joined Nicholas Academic Centers' founders Dr. Henry T. Nicholas, III and (retired) Judge Jack K. Mandel in applauding the college-bound NACs class of 2012. Each high school graduate was presented a certificate and a college sweatshirt from the university where they will be attending in fall. The list of prestigious universities where the NACs students were accepted includes University of Notre Dame, UCLA, Denison College and more.

"The road these students took to get where they are today was not easy," said Hugo Gutierrez, NACs' executive director and mentoring program alumnus. "During their sophomore and junior years of high school, they made a commitment to succeed beyond their wildest dreams and worked tirelessly to earn excellent grades and apply themselves to attend top colleges and universities around the country."

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What the Letters on the Sweaters Really Say: A Look at the 4th Annual NAC Graduation Celebration

June 12, 2012

NAC New Archives

Nicholas Academic Centers, Class of 2012On Saturday, June 9, 2012, over 400 people gathered at the Westin South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa to celebrate the accomplishments of the NAC’s 81 graduating seniors from the 2012 class. Friends, family, high school counselors & administrators, community leaders, and more shared an evening of great music, delicious food, and inspiring stories and speeches.
During the reception, the Santa Ana High School Mariachi Band treated attendees to music while the catering staff brought around a trio of pre-ceremony appetizers. The lobby featured an interactive display of pictures from past NAC events and statistics highlighting the successes of current NAC alums, including the growing number of NAC students served each year as well as the increasing number of graduates attending 4-year colleges across the United States. Guests could also familiarize themselves with the graduating class at one of two large screen TVs, each of which presented pictures and bios for this year’s NAC seniors.
After the ballroom doors opened and the guests were seated, the ceremony began with a short video featuring several NAC students who shared their experience with the centers. NAC juniors Marylinda Bustamante and Hector Valencia, the Master and Mistress of Ceremonies, officially began the celebration by introducing the first speaker of the evening, Dr. Henry T. Nicholas, III. Dr. Nicholas then took the stage and welcomed the crowd to the event. During his opening remarks, Dr. Nicholas commented on the $1.1 million earned by this year’s NAC seniors in grants and scholarships, and noted the significance of the NAC’s retention numbers: “Where the rubber meets the road is graduating from an institution of higher learning; it’s retention, and this is the statistic I am the most proud of. After four years of operation, our graduates have achieved a 97% retention rate. That compares to a national average of 77%.”

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Santa Ana High school grads overcame adversity and are headed to college



Nicholas Academic Centers Graduation Celebration Highlights Local Students Who Overcame Adversity to Achieve the American Dream of Higher Education

WHAT: A group of 80 vibrant, graduating high school students from Santa Ana have three things in common – all have battled through financial hardships, language and cultural barriers, successfully gone through the Nicholas Academic Centers (NACs) program, and in a couple of months are all attending top-tier higher education institutions such as the University of Notre Dame, UCLA, Denison College and more.

This Saturday, June 9, the 4TH Annual Nicholas Academic Centers’ Graduation Celebration will honor 80 graduating high school students (NAC), who have dedicated 500 hours on average attending an after-school tutoring and mentoring program in Santa Ana.

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