A world where there are no bells, no sports teams, and no Spanish classes is a world very few high school students experience. Yet for Middle College High School student Cristina Garcia, this world is the norm.
Out of the 600 possible students to walk at this years’ graduation 31 of them will be students from MCHS. Cristina is one of them.
Born and raised in Santa Ana Cristina has attended MCHS for four years, working hard to receive both her High School Diploma and her Associates of Arts degree.
“They are achieving the same thing that college students have on top of their High School work,” said Maria Estrada, Santa Ana College counselor for MCHS.
At the start of sophomore year, MCHS students take four high school classes and three college classes.
“The biggest obstacle has been managing my time,” Cristina said.
MCHS student’s schedules are built on an individual basis. The students are not given an excessive amount of classes and the counselors make sure that the student can handle the workload.
Cristina enjoys baking cookies, hanging out with friends and listening to music when she is not focused on her homework.
“It’s a big commitment balancing high school and college,” said MCHS counselor Velina Espinosa.
On pace to graduate with a 4.1 GPA, Cristina will have junior status at the University of Redlands, in the Fall. She will be working towards becoming a dietician.
“I chose Redlands because it’s a smaller environment,” said Cristina, noting the similarities of the University with MCHS whom admits about 80 students each year.
“I love that MCHS is small, there’s a real connection between staff and students,” said Claudia Flint, principle of MCHS.
From 2007 on, MCHS students all became AVID (Advanced Via Individual Determination) students. Expecting students to do well and go to college AVID raises the standards. Since then statistics for college acceptances have doubled.
Like AVID the mission of MCHS is to serve the middle of the road students.
Sending letters about their school to more than 700 hundred eighth graders with a GPA between 2.5 and 3.2, Middle College hopes to give these students that extra push to do their best.
“In the beginning I was unsure, but it’s been really great. It’s made me grow and I have no regrets,” said Cristina.
Being the oldest out of 4 children, with a younger brother who also goes to MCHS, Cristina will be the first in her family to go to college.
“I’m nervous, but it’s exciting. College is a new adventure, it’s kind of scary, but I know it will be fun too, said Cristina.
With 80 percent of Middle College seniors completing their A through G requirements, other students feel what she’s going through.
“Cristina is a model student and she defines what MCHS is all about,” said Maria Estrada.
The MCHS students will distinguish themselves at the graduation by having purple laminated MCHS letters on their mortarboards.