Since 2004, every Tutor Corps student has completed high school and been accepted to college, with 94% ultimately earning a college degree.
“Our goal is that all students continue their education and ultimately attain a post-secondary education, but it’s extraordinary that our graduating class is positioned to earn that degree without incurring significant debt,” said Guadalupe Center President and CEO Dawn Montecalvo. “We have strong partnerships with colleges and universities across the country, as well as generous donors, that join forces to remove the biggest obstacle that our talented students face when considering college – money to pay for tuition, books, room and board.”
Guadalupe Center’s college-preparatory Tutor Corps Program provides Immokalee High School students with college and career readiness programs, ACT and SAT test prep, mentorships, financial literacy and scholarship assistance, as well as wages for tutoring younger students. The nonprofit celebrated its Class of 2023 on April 27, when parents, mentors, community partners and staff gathered to recognize seniors’ accomplishments:
• Accrued Guadalupe Center Scholarship Funding: $316,000
• Total Scholarships and Grants: $3,551,413
• Average GPA: 4.1
• Percent Graduating High School: 100
• Students Earning College Credit: 13 of 26
• First-Generation College Students: 22 of 26
Students will be pursuing majors in biology, mechanical and biomedical engineering, business, nursing, criminal justice, economics, psychology, aeronautical science, veterinary medicine, biochemistry, education, political science and other fields. Some are electing to stay close to home, attending Florida Gulf Coast University or Florida SouthWestern State College, while others will attend the University of Florida, Florida State University and other public and private institutions within Florida. In addition to The Ohio State University and Michigan State University, Tutor Corps students will be enrolling at six out-of-state institutions that have formal partnerships with Guadalupe Center: Arcadia University, Augustana College, North Central College, Roberts Wesleyan College, Saint John’s University and Villanova University.
Jose Agustin Beltran-Meza will be majoring in civil engineering at FGCU, a dream that seemed impossible before Guadalupe Center staff helped explain everything from selecting a major to choosing a college and completing a financial aid application.
“I was pretty lost, and they guided me,” Beltran-Meza said. “If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t have known how to start.”
“Being a first-generation student, you can get easily confused when filling out financial aid paperwork or applying to different colleges, or thinking about how you’re going to pay for it,” added Susie Lopez-Trejo, who plans to major in social work or marketing at FGCU. “Guadalupe Center helps steer you in that direction and apply for all of those things.”
The Class of 2023 was in seventh grade when Hurricane Irma devastated Immokalee and southern Collier County. They were freshmen when COVID-19 forced schools into a remote learning format. They were seniors when Hurricane Ian disrupted their education.
“They understand resiliency,” Montecalvo said. “They understand overcoming the challenges of living in an impoverished community. They understand what it’s like to face adversity, but still stay focused on education because that is what will help them reach their dreams and goals in life.”
Emily Sumpmann, Guadalupe Center’s director of philanthropy and a Tutor Corps mentor, noted the Class of 2023 is entirely focused on the future.
“No matter which one of the students you talk to, they want to better themselves, they want to better their family, they want to better their community,” Sumpmann said. “Never do you see a group of this size with that shared goal. They’re going to do big things.”
About Guadalupe Center
Guadalupe Center is a purpose-driven nonprofit organization with proven success in creating endless possibilities for the students of Immokalee through education, as well as fostering personal and academic success that leads to economic independence. Established in 1984, Guadalupe Center is a premier, education-focused organization that delivers outstanding results: 95% of students in the nationally accredited Early Childhood Education Program meet or exceed kindergarten readiness standards; 100% of students in the After-school Tutoring & Summer Enrichment Program demonstrate significant gains in reading and math; and 100% of seniors in the college-preparatory Tutor Corps Program graduate from high school and are accepted into college, with more than 94% ultimately earning a college degree. With a mission to break the cycle of poverty through education, Guadalupe Center serves more than 1,900 students annually and is generously supported by private donors, philanthropic organizations and community partners. For more information, please visit GuadalupeCenter.org or call 239-657-7711.