In 1997, two educators started a program to address the growing opportunity gap for students from the east side of Palo Alto. With that first class of 25 students, College Track was born. Today, our flagship center is a fixture in the community, serving more than 600 students from the Sequoia Union School District with hundreds of alumni proving what East Palo Alto youth can achieve.
East Palo Alto is located in the heart of Silicon Valley—one of the wealthiest and most expensive regions in the country. And yet, the city’s history as a disenfranchised and unincorporated territory has resulted in its exclusion in the region’s booming economic, educational, and cultural opportunities. Today, only 20 percent of East Palo Alto residents age 25 or older hold a bachelor’s degree.
A View Inside…
We are invested in providing students with experiences outside the walls of our center that are not only culturally and educationally enriching, but also present unique challenges and opportunities for students to step outside their comfort zone. For New Student Orientation this year, our newest class of high school freshmen participated in an environmental service day at Cooley Landing, weeding, watering, and mulching their local park.
Who We Serve
scholars and alumni
from low-income households
matriculate to a two- or four-year college
Scholar Spotlight: Laura, University of California Santa Cruz
When I was 11 years old, my parents made the brave but difficult decision to leave our home in search of a better life in America. The journey that eventually landed my family in California was filled with danger, fear, and discomfort, but in the end, we were grateful for our safety and the opportunities before us.
The question for me was not if I would go to college, but how. At College Track, I prepared myself to be a competitive college applicant. They went well beyond academics; teaching me to advocate for myself, to be confident, and to find my voice.
In 2012, I became the first in my family to graduate from college with dual degrees in Latin American Studies and Politics. I now work at the American Bar Association as a Paralegal, changing the lives of immigrants like myself who have been through traumatic experiences.