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Dasha Tsakke and Mr. Mugambee posing with a statue at Stanford

Dasha Tsakke and Mr. Talili L. Mugambee pose with a statue on the campus of Stanford University during a field trip. Photo by Aileen Chhen.

ETS opens college doors to future possibilities

In January of 2012, the Educational Talent Search (ETS) program of UC Davis was introduced to Foothill High School. As the months have progressed, ETS has made a profound impact on our students and continues to do so. ETS serves to help students identify and reach their future educational and career goals by providing the resources, support, and guidance needed to be successful in their quest for college.

When beginning the program, Mr. Taili L. Mugambee, the Program Advisor for Foothill High School, shared his personal life story and was able to automatically connect with numerous students, as many of his past struggles are similar to the hardships students are currently facing. Through words of inspiration, Mr. Mugambee has helped students see the value of pursuing a college education.

"Many of the students that attend Foothill High come from families where they will be the first to experience the life of college and the reward of a degree," he says. "To be the first means to pave the way for those behind you. Your dream career may not exist in your mind yet, but as we work together, you begin to understand where your true interests lie, and we will build from there. The investment in your educational career will be one of the most important and sustaining investments you'll make in your life."

In the past few months, ETS has given tremendous assistance to seniors preparing for college. Over the summer, ETS offered "Senior Prep Day" at UC Davis, in which students were given insight for how be readily prepared for their senior year. Students were given many useful tips of what colleges expect in the personal statement and how to write an essay that effectively represents their life story. The ETS program leaders also answered a number of questions regarding college admissions and deadlines, financial aid, and preparation for the SAT and ACT.

In November, ETS students were given the opportunity to visit and tour the campuses of San Jose State University and Stanford University. Not only were the campuses truly beautiful but the experience gave seniors a good glimpse of what life may be like next year and where they envision themselves in the near future. Visiting a campus truly brings forth a new perspective of the university and the possibilities it may hold for prospective students.

Dasha Tsakke, an ETS student, describes the impact that the ETS program has had on her educational goals: "ETS is your best buddy in high school and your backbone during college applications. The ever-inspiring Mr. Mugambee himself believes in every single person's potential, and his face displays pride for students who have grown under the program. His words are so inspiring that they completely change the very atmosphere you're in. Never has he shut out anyone from his cozy office, a favorite hot spot for students, whether they are there to discuss personal statements, plead for a fee waiver, or simply to absorb words of inspiration.

Mr. Mugambee has even helped students decide possible future career paths. The money you get to keep in your pockets from all the financial help is mind-boggling. Students elsewhere pay thousands of dollars for SAT/ ACT workshops and you have them completely free!! Being in this program changes your entire outlook on the world, and you get to experience firsthand the world beyond Foothill High when you travel outside of school to magnificent university campuses such as Stanford and San Jose State. ETS is the best of the best of the best--you heard me."

The ETS enrollment period for seniors has ended as of November 1, 2012. Enrollment for freshman, sophomore, and junior classes is still open. Pick up an ETS application in the Career Services Center and be open to the future of possibilities!

Mr. Mugambee shares an inspirational poem, something to ponder as we continue to work toward our goals:

"Thinking" by Walter D. Wintle

If you think you are beaten, you are
If you think you dare not, you don't,
If you like to win, but you think you can't,
It is almost certain you won't.

If you think you'll lose, you're lost
For out of the world we find,
Success begins with a fellow's will
It's all in the state of mind.

If you think you are outclassed, you are
You've got to think high to rise,
You've got to be sure of yourself before
You can ever win a prize.

Life's battles don't always go
To the stronger or faster man,
But soon or late the man who wins



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