First Generation Support Group considers expansion


Alexa Soto

Three members of the First Generation Support Group editing each other's college essays in the College and Career Center. Alberto Ramirez, far left, Liliana Tirado, left, Adrian Rivas, right, and Carqueville, far right.

By Alexa Soto, A&E Editor

When Ms. Carqueville, a counselor, emailed the First Generation Support Group members welcoming them to invite friends to join the group, Liliana Tirado replied back suggesting they make a post on the Lane Class of 2018 Facebook group to spread the word.

 Over 80 seniors liked Tirado’s post, and over 100 commented, expressing their interest. Tirado’s post welcomed first generation students, whose parents did not complete college, to join a support group where they will receive help with the college application process, as well as address other related concerns.

 “I thought maybe ten, twenty [student responses] if I’m really reaching for it,” Tirado, Div. 871, said. “It was 129 students, a little bit more that messaged me privately.”

    Carqueville created the support group with former counselor, Mr. Sarmiento, in late February of last school year. 10 juniors, including Tirado, took a Naviance survey and checked off a box demonstrating their interest in a support group for first generation students.

  According to Carqueville, several first generation students have parents who do not understand why college is so expensive or why they have to go away, so the students do not always feel supported.

  “I wanted a place, kind of like a support group, where people could say, ‘Hey I feel you, I’ve been through that too,’” Carqueville said.

  The original group members met about eight times during junior year, discussing, Naviance and Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA.

  Original members of the group, Tirado and Alberto Ramirez, Div. 880, said the group has helped them learn more about how to pick the right college for themselves.

  “They have helped me realize how popular name colleges, or the ‘best’ colleges aren’t always what is best,” Ramirez said. “It’s more about how I should focus on the college that will suit me best, and the resources and classes I need.”

 Now, the original members are seniors and have recently been working on reviewing each other’s college essays and discussing how they are going to expand the group while staying true to its initial goal and keeping it a support group rather than a “seminar group,” according to Tirado.

  “We want to make sure we pay attention to every single person,” Tirado said. “Right now, we have all those emails and we have all of the names, but we’re just working out what’s the best way to have everyone come together.”

 According to Carqueville and Tirado, while the group is still working out the kinks of whether or not they will open the group to the 100 interested students, the counseling department recognized that all seniors can benefit greatly from college essay editing.

 “It’s not just for first generation students, it’s for everybody, but we saw that there was a need, so we still wanted to meet it,” Carqueville said.

  Seniors who wish to have their essays edited can drop by the College and Career Center where tutors, teachers, counselors and parents can help them.

   In the spring, Carqueville will be looking for a new group of first generation students who will be seniors next year. Although the process of finding those juniors has not yet been discussed, Carqueville said her vision is that those students will be guided by both her and the 10 original members preparing to graduate.

  “I feel like I was the one in the group who knew the least about college related information,” Ramirez said. “However, with the help of our counselor and my peers, I have learned way more. It has definitely made me feel better and less stressed about applying to college.”