BAKERSFIELD, CA - It's an encouraging turnaround for one local school. Dozens of South High School seniors will attend a four-year university this fall which is nearly three times the number accepted three years ago.
"It's a moment for me to recognize all of my hard work and all that I've been through, and this is the moment that I get to see all my hard work paid off," said Trayniesha Taylor, a senior at South High.
Following four years of high school, dozens of students at South High signed their statement of intent to attend a four-year-university on Thursday.
"It's an experience that you can never really do over. Besides high school, I think college, it's something who defines who you are," said Christian Gutierrez, a senior at South High.
South High is currently ranked number two in the Kern High School District as the school with the highest percentage of college acceptances. But, school officials say it's taken a long time to get to this point. In 2007, administrators say a little more than 20 students went to a UC school, with the majority going to community college. However this year, 54 students will attend a UC school. School officials say that's a tremendous increase.
"As more students get accepted and attend a UC, they come back and they share their stories and that motivates more students to attend and see the possibility of achieving a UC education," said Catalina Mendiola, college psych coordinator for South High School.
Trayniesha Taylor will attend UC Santa Barbara in the fall and said she's the first one in her family to attend UC.
"More than anything, I want to set an example for my younger siblings," said Taylor. "I think that especially going to a UC is the most honoring thing I can do and just to show them, just to be an example for them would just be my greatest, greatest dream."
School officials said within the past couple years, seniors have had more hands-on experience about getting into college and opportunities after college by earning their college degree.