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Gateway Early College High School takes college prep a step further

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Thursday, Oct. 2, 2014

By Darby Fitzgerald


MICHAEL GORDON/CRONKITE NEWS: Gateway Early College High School was just ranked by Newsweek as one of the top 10 low-income high schools. The school has a zero percent dropout rate. Reporter Darby Fitzgerald visited the school to find out what keeps their students motivated to graduate.

DARBY FITZGERALD/CRONKITE NEWS: Peek into this classroom and you might just see high school students.

LISA SMITH/GATEWAY HIGH SCHOOL PRINCIPAL: We’re mostly a minority inner-city school. That’s what it looks like from the outside. From the inside we have really dedicated kids and families.

DARBY FITZGERALD/CRONKITE NEWS: Dedicated because the students at Gateway Early College High School are taking more than high school classes. They’re also taking college courses.

DAYYANA BARRERA/STUDENT: I’m going to have my associate’s degree. I have 54 credits and I only need two more classes.

DARBY FITZGERALD/CRONKITE NEWS: The school is all about making sure kids are college- and career-ready, so the kids are required to apply to three schools and apply for six scholarships. Some students I talked to today are even thinking about applying here at ASU.

DAYYANA BARRERA/STUDENT: I’m applying to ASU, but my second choice is U of A.

ERICK COCOBA/STUDENT: I definitely want to apply to ASU and possibly out of state. The dream would be to go to MIT, but I have to work really hard for that.

DARBY FITZGERALD/CRONKITE NEWS: Students here see that they can go to college if they work hard. Their teachers push them to be ready to go for that degree.

DYMOND BRADLEY/STUDENT: Our teachers hold us to a higher standard in and out of class.

DARBY FITZGERALD/CRONKITE NEWS: The school offers students more than just an education.

BLAINE MONTANARO/STUDENT: The biggest thing is the familiar atmosphere. Everybody feels safe, everybody has teachers they can come to as a mentor.

DARBY FITZGERALD/CRONKITE NEWS: And for the students who made it out of these hallways and graduated, Gateway has impacted their lives.

LISA SMITH/GATEWAY HIGH SCHOOL PRINCIPAL: For a lot of them they feel like this really changes their lives, that they never really saw themselves with the potential or ability to finish college.

MICHAEL GORDON/CRONKITE NEWS: Principal Lisa Smith says that getting a number 6 ranking is a confidence booster and shows that the school’s on the right track, but she says they’re not done yet.