Guadalupe Centers High School Students Tour UMKC, Learn About Cutting-edge New Program

Recently launched "Professional Career Escalators" program prepares students to go beyond the degree

Sophomore students attending Guadalupe Centers High School visited UMKC’s campus to learn about its culture, programs and degree options.

The group of about 35 students are participants in their high school’s college prep program called Early Escalera. It works with students to prepare for college earlier in their high school careers. Early Escalera is the high school equivalent to UMKC’s "Professional Career Escalators"SM, or Career Escalators, program that prepares college students to start thinking about careers from the minute their university experience begins.

Chancellor Agrawal welcomed the students to the university shortly after their arrival on campus. He explained the benefits of UMKC’s new Career Escalators program, a cohort style learning model that encourages students to align their academic journeys with future career goals in mind and supports students with a unique collection of bundled services, resulting in memorable experiences and powerful connections to help students land high-paying careers upon graduation.

“Your program takes you through the early steps of getting to college, ours takes you through getting a degree to a successful and fulfilling career,” said Mauli Agrawal, chancellor.

The chancellor went on to give an overview of UMKC’s degree programs, including two new degree options launching in the fall of 2022 before bidding the students farewell as they ventured out around the Volker Campus for a tour.

“My two favorite spots on campus are the basketball courts and our iconic Roo statue,” said Agrawal. “Be sure to keep an eye out for those spots during your tour and take time to take a picture yourself and post it.”

According to the National Register for Historic Places, Guadalupe Centers is the longest continuously operating agency serving Latinos in the United States. Guadalupe Centers’ educational programming dates back to the 1980’s, expanding from 15 students who learned in the basement of a neighborhood church to now serving over 1,000 students in Pre-kindergarten through high school. The Early Escalera program at Guadalupe Centers High School (GCHS) aims to make sure students graduate, go to college and find continued success.

Uzziel Pecina, assistant teaching professor in the UMKC School of Education, welcomed the group and shared a unique connection to their school.

“Benvenidos, somos familia,” Pecina said, before explaining his role at UMKC’s school of education.

Students were surprised and delighted to learn Pecina is a former principal of Alta Vista High School, which is known today as Guadalupe Centers High School. He went on to share deep familial ties to GCHS – Pecina has a sister who is a GCHS counselor, a brother who taught art there, one nephew who graduated from GCCHS and another who is a current middle school student.

“The culture here at UMKC is unmatched. We have more than 300 student organizations and a culture of support and inclusion,” Pecina said. “Ask questions, introduce yourself to people and make connections as you lay the groundwork for your future college careers.”



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Published: Feb 11, 2022