Oakland Unity High School celebrates sending 80% of their seniors to 4-year colleges

ByTim Johns KGO logo
Monday, May 27, 2024
Oakland HS celebrates sending 80% of seniors to 4-year colleges
This year, 80% of Oakland's Unity High School students will continue onto four-year colleges or universities.

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- It was a celebration at Oakland Unity High School on Friday. Students gathering for their so-called Decision Day - where graduating seniors announce what college they'll be attending in the fall.

This year, that includes Salvador Terriquez, who will be attending UC Davis in the hopes of becoming a neonatal surgeon.

"I think it's really important that babies have the care they need. And also prenatal care for women, to have that access," Terriquez said.

Salvador isn't unique at Oakland Unity.

MORE: Oakland teen accepted to 122 universities with $5.3M in scholarships

This year, 80% of their students will continue onto four-year colleges or universities.

A statistic that far exceeds the 50% average for Black and Brown students in the city as a whole.

"That changes their trajectory not just for themselves, but for everyone in their family who comes behind them now has a role model and a mentor about how do you go to college and how do you enter a professional career," said Kimi Kean, of Families in Action for Quality Education.

Oakland Unity's principal, William Nee, says creating an environment for students to succeed is no accident.

MORE: Oakland's Black, Brown students lag behind state levels for reading, math: report

Nee tells us it's something he and his staff work on daily.

"You just have to kind of find a way to connect with people and earn their trust. Because to ask them to really try, it takes trust for them to really try," Nee said.

That trust permeates down throughout the student body, says senior Leslie Pena Salazar.

On her way to UCLA, Leslie says she'll be the first person in her family to go to college.

MORE: Oakland Unity Middle School students beating the odds in math, English

The same as 97% of her fellow graduates at Unity.

"They supported me throughout everything. I feel like they're the reason I got into UCLA. Like they were there for me whenever I needed them," Pena Salazar said.

And while the seniors are happy to support each other on Decision Day, no one is more excited than their families.

"My mom is extremely proud because I'm her first child that's going to leave home and go attend college. So I think she's both nervous and excited for me," said Terriquez.

Now Streaming 24/7 Click Here