These high school students were afraid to dream bigger. A Stanford class is changing that.
When we asked to see what Stanford has to offer the students of high school, we saw that the program could be a transformational experience. It could be a moment of personal growth, where the high school student might discover that, despite the limitations of his or her own experience, he or she has talents and abilities that could make him or her a leader in the workplace, or perhaps he or she can take a stand on something that needs to be said.
The Stanford Class of 2015 is leading the way to make that a reality. The students are doing more than being leaders — they are changing the world. Their stories are compelling and important. It’s why their class is the most successful in the history of the school.
The students all come from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. They have a wide range of educational and personal interests. Many have little exposure to college, and a few have been out of school for years. But this year they are making their mark on change.
That’s because the Stanford Class of 2011 is the first significant class to come from this country’s largest school system — a school system with a history of creating and nurturing innovation at the highest levels. Stanford has the best teachers in the world, and its research and creativity is staggering. And yet our nation’s biggest public school system remains a place of poverty, where talented young people may never pursue the higher education that they could get on their own.
That’s why Stanford is making a commitment to help address that problem.
The program this year, which gives the students $25,000 for tuition, is a departure from the past four years. It was called the Stanford High School Program, which gave the students from middle schools to high schools an opportunity to go to an elite college or university, with no tuition. In a way, the program was comparable to the Stanford Graduate School in that the students could go to a private university with no debt. This year’s program, called the Stanford Class of 2015, has a tuition of a little over $10,000, far less than what the students’ parents would have to pay to go to the University of California. The program is designed to transform the student’s life beyond high school.