High school sophomore Jesus Garcia of Santa Fe Springs waited patiently outside of the Fullerton College Campus Theatre with a couple of his classmates and more than 800 other male students who visited the college for the 2nd annual Males Achieving Success Conference on Jan. 19.
“I want to further my understanding of colleges,” Garcia said. And like many of the other high school males attending the conference, Garcia plans to be the first in his family to go to college.
The MAS outreach program which is spearheaded by Fullerton College’s Counseling Division, targets male students from local high schools to help address the achievement gap for African-American and Latino males in higher education. The conference is an extension of the work being done at those high schools and provided students with an opportunity to learn more about college pathways and careers.
During an opening ceremony students were welcomed by Fullerton College President Greg Schulz, Rolando Sanabria, who oversees high school outreach for the college, and a keynote message from retired NFL player Anthony Madison, who shared an inspiring message about how he overcame many obstacles in life and became the first in his family to earn a college degree.
Madison’s message to the students focused on sharing his four keys to success: attitude, work ethic, reputation and faith. “Through hard work and faith I was able to push through the hard times,” he said.
Madison earned a full scholarship to play football at the University of Alabama and later went on to play with the Pittsburgh Steelers where he amassed seven seasons, earned two AFC championships, two Super Bowl appearances, and helped the Steelers win Super Bowl 43 against the Arizona Cardinals. He recently completed a master’s degree in Counseling at Cal State Fullerton and plans to earn a Ph.D.
The MAS conference included more than 20 motivational workshops for students to learn about academic programs, financial aid, careers in accounting, teaching, entertainment and arts, marine biology and more.
Adam Christopher, a junior from Buena Park High School said he was most excited about seeing the Fullerton College campus and learning more about what it’s like to be a student at FC. He plans to attend Fullerton College and transfer to a four-year university to major in psychology.
Other attendees included students in grades 9-12 from 23 local high schools. Participating districts included Fullerton Joint Union, Anaheim Union, and Whittier Union High school districts.
View a photo gallery of the conference on Facebook here.