Upward Scholars student profile
Flavia Rojas: How owning a car changed her life
When Flavia Rojas got promoted from cashier to assistant manager at a Redwood City discount store - with a salary increase from $10 to $15 per hour ­- she was elated. But when the store moved to Santa Clara, her life didn't stay so rosy.  
Flavia Rojas 
"I had to take two buses to get to work," says Flavia, 38, who came to the US from Mexico 17 years ago. "I left my house in Redwood City at 6:00 in the morning and arrived at work at 7:50." Another more devastating result of Flavia's working in Santa Clara was that she was forced to drop one of her ESL classes since her long commute gave her little time to study.
That all changed when Flavia purchased a car courtesy of a monetary grant from Philanthropic Ventures, a Bay Area foundation that provides selected Upwards Scholars students with a car "scholarship" if they can demonstrate that owning a car will free up commute time so they can take more classes and complete their studies more quickly.
In Flavia's case, owning a car not only reduced her commute to 30 minutes each way but also gave her back the time to take two ESL classes instead of one."My goal is to be the store manager, but to do that, I need more English," Flavia says. "Now that I have a car, I have more time to go to school and more time to study."  

And they're off...
Spring 2018 enrollment breaks new record   
More than 240 Upward Scholars students enrolled in college this spring, an increase of more than 20 percent over spring semester 2017.
Upward Scholars student Griselda Mayen with Cory, the Cañada College mascot
About eighty percent of our students are from Latin America, with the remaining students from 18 different countries including Iran, China, Afghanistan, Brazil, Palestine, and Nepal. Students range in age from 18  to 67. Their average age is 34.  
While about 90 percent of our students attend Cañada College, we also have students taking classes at the College of San Mateo, Skyline College, and Foothill College.   
In addition to taking English as a Second Language (ESL) classes, students are taking calculus, history, legal studies, physics, child development, and accounting, to name just a few.   
Most of our students go to school part-time and have minimum wage jobs such as prep cooks, bussers, custodians, and cashiers.  

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