Will.i.am partners with College Track to send kids to college

May 21, 2011 1:03:42 AM PDT
One of the front men of the popular group - Black Eyed Peas - is in the Bay Area. He's not performing, but motivating young people to succeed and he's offering to pay for it.

Will.i.am is an entertainer, an entrepreneur, and an education advocate. He came here to support a bunch of college-bound students who are recent graduates of the College Track Program. At their graduation ceremony, pride frilled the room because these students are all considered at-risk. They go to centers in Oakland, East Palo Alto, and San Francisco.

"I will be attending MIT in the fall," said Estefania Avila, a College Track graduate.

"I didn't know what the SAT or the ACT was, so I didn't even know that I had to apply to the university," said Noe Ribas, a College Track graduate.

Ribas is going to UC Berkeley. He arrived in the U.S. from El Salvador just four years ago and immediately found College Track. Ribas' father says his son is the first in the family to go to college.

College Track provides students with tutors, mentors, counselors and scholarship opportunities. That's where Will.i.am comes in. For the first time, he's partnering with College Track and offering the "i.am" scholarship fund.

"I had a lot of help, a lot of assistance, and a lot of encouragement. And if I didn't have that, I would be like the people I grew up with. I probably wouldn't be alive," said Will.iam.

Ivy Nguyen is going to UCLA with an i.am scholarship.

"For a famous guy like Will.i.am to come support us is amazing," said Nguyen.

College Track supports students from the time they enter the program, their freshman year in high school, to the time they graduate from college. And every spot for this upcoming academic year is already filled.

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