Elisabet Labrador’s parents understand the value of college—they were just hard-pressed to pay for it. As a result of Elisabet’s hard work in high school, they’ll have help with tuition and books thanks to the President’s Scholars Program.
The 2012 Coalinga High School graduate enrolled at West Hills College Coalinga for fall semester. She had been accepted at Fresno State. The cost of living in Fresno or driving from her home in Coalinga to the CSU campus was just too much and her parents were also concerned that at 17, she was too young.
Her father, who attended high school in Mexico until he was 16 and has a gardening service, and her mother, who left school after completing elementary school in Mexico and works at the garlic plant in Coalinga, both wanted their daughter to stay focused on school and not get a low-paying job that might interfere with her education.
Statistics are on their side. Students who attend college full-time are far more likely to graduate and a community college graduate triples their income within the first three years of graduation on average.
Instead of working, Elisabet attends classes at WHCC and helps out at home with two younger sisters. She is encouraging the 14-year-old to enroll in a West Hills College pre-calculus class next year.
I’m helping my sisters and they will benefit from my experience
“I didn’t really have any idea of what school was all about,” Elisabet says, “but I’m helping my sisters and they will benefit from my experience.”
Elisabet feels that her time at West Hills will better prepare her to attend a four-year college to complete a degree in accounting. “I think I would have been lost at Fresno State.”
Somewhat shy, Elisabet said that her teachers at West Hills have helped her make the transition from high school without stress. “They’re good teachers and easy to approach.”
She expects that earning an accounting degree will allow her to own her own bookkeeping service—probably in her hometown. There is no doubt that her parents will be very proud when that day comes.