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SMJUHSD students learned that college is a definite possibility during a recent field trip to two bay-area universities.

The group from Santa Maria, Pioneer Valley and Righetti high schools are students enrolled in a course called Student Academic Achievement Seminar (SAAS).

The experience brought the young learners to the University of San Francisco and San Francisco State University where they toured the campuses and participated in a question and answer panel with college students who are part of Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán (MEChA) - a student organization that promotes higher education, culture, and history. MEChA was originally founded on the principles of self-determination and education for people of color.

SMHS senior Sara Leon said, “I learned how it was hard for some students to leave home, and what the students had to go through.”  PVHS senior Humberto Lopez found the journey eye-opening and added, “There are many programs that can help you and each campus handles situations differently. Colleges have a variety of races and are open to many things.’’

RHS 11th grader Esmeralda Coracero summed up the mindset of many college students.

“It’s not about who you are, but what you can bring back to the community,’’ Coracero said.

E.L. Academic Achievement Specialist Rosie Ojeda described the trip as “inspiring.”

“The students were able to see that they do belong in college,’’ Ojeda said. “It also provided valuable information about the differences between private and public universities so that students could be better equipped to make the decision of what college they may want to attend.’’

NONDISCRIMINATION POLICY: The Santa Maria Joint Union High School District is committed to ensuring equal, fair, and meaningful access to employment and education services. The SMJUHSD does not discriminate in any employment practice, education program, or educational activity on the basis and/or association with a person or group with one or more of these actual or perceived characteristics of age, ancestry, color, disability, ethnicity, ethnic group identifications, gender, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information, marital, family or parental status, medical condition, military or veteran status, nationality, national origin, immigration status, political affiliation, pregnancy and related conditions, race, religion, retaliation, sex (including sexual harassment), sexual orientation, or any other basis prohibited by California state and federal nondiscrimination laws respectively. Not all bases of discrimination will apply to both education services and employment. If you believe you have been subjected to discrimination, harassment, intimidation, or bullying, immediately contact the District’s Discrimination, Equity and Title IX Compliance Officer Mr. Kevin R. Platt at 2560 Skyway Drive, Santa Maria, CA 93455, (805) 922-4573 or You may request a copy of SMJUHSD’s Uniform Complaint Procedures, Non-Discrimination Policies, Sexual Harassment Policies or click here.