Tacoma Students are Ready to Rise!

Preparing Tacoma students to be successful in college and beyond as the next generation of diverse emerging leaders

This past summer, we accomplished our second year of the Catalyst Academy, with 33 rising college freshman who just graduated from a Tacoma high school. Students engaged in a summer of intensive preparation and leadership development, with the goal of preparing for success as they landed on campus in the fall.

As we’ve seen over the past 15 years working with college students in our Act Six initiative, there are plenty of obstacles on the journey to a college degree. Despite being prepared academically, many low-income and first generation college students face significant social barriers to success. In fact, only 42% of low-income students graduate from college with a degree.

In response , our Catalyst Academy scholars met weekly all summer, along with an initial 3-day retreat to engage in real, honest conversations about the challenges of engaging on campus. We dived into conversations about race, identity, and how these show up in real interactions on campus. Further, we talked honestly about the real challenges that we have seen students face as they adjust to life and expectations of college.

As our Catalyst Academy scholars begin the freshman semester at nine colleges and universities throughout Washington state, we are incredibly excited for these young people as they engage on campus and start their journey towards a college degree.

Further we are excited to launch a new initiative, Ready to Rise, working with 100 more students per year on their transition to college and as future leaders for our city! See a recently published Op-Ed in the Tacoma News Tribune for more information.

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