This piece was published in the August 2016 print edition of the Prep News.
Since 2012, the Hurtado Scholars program has prepared middle school students for the academic rigors of a college preparatory education. This program assists students who want to reach higher levels of academic success but experience certain socio-economic circumstances that make this goal harder to attain. Scholars are instructed on everything from study skills and mathematics to leadership and cultural awareness.
“The mission [of the Hurtado Scholars] is to bring light to potential,” says Marvin Grilliot, the director of the program.
This year, however, marks an important milestone for the program. This is the first year that students from the Hurtado Scholars program are attending Rockhurst. While students aren’t required to attend Rockhurst after completion of the program, it is encouraged in order to continue the development process for academic success.
Before the creation of the program, it was rare for students from urban diocesan schools to attend Rockhurst. With a new wave of students coming from this program, Rockhurst can further strive to achieve its goal in creating a diverse and well-rounded Jesuit education.
Even though school has been in session for less than two weeks, these students are very happy to be attending Rockhurst and are looking forward to the future.
“It’s a new experience, but it’s been great. Hurtado made this experience at Rockhurst even better,” freshman AJ Lopez said.
Despite many of the scholars already feeling accustomed to the culture of Rockhurst due to the Brothers Program and freshman orientation, some are still trying to assimilate with the entire experience.
“It’s weird. You’re not at the top of the food chain, like in middle school,” freshman William Pollard said.
“The transition was hard from middle school to high school, but Hurtado prepared me for it,” freshman Acien Ajing said.
Students say the program helped build confidence in these students and allowed them to believe in themselves and their abilities.
“Intensive testing during the Hurtado Program helped to strengthen our confidence to show that we are capable of attending a school like Rockhurst,” Pollard said.
Scholars have described having many aspirations and goals for what they want to do at Rockhurst and in the future.
“My goal is to get to college and by my senior year, hopefully I know what I want with my life by then,” Ajing said.
The scholars agree that the Hurtado Program was critical in their development in and outside of the classroom.
“I’m really looking forward to meeting new people here and learning to serve others,” Lopez said.
Now that they attend Rockhurst, they can take the next step in their formation as “men for others.”