Equity: Helping Roosevelt High Schoolers Visualize College

Across the Willamette River, just a 20-minute drive from the Lewis & Clark campus, is Roosevelt High School, a highly diverse public school in North Portland. The school serves more than 1,500 students, the majority of whom are non-white (majority Hispanic), low-income, and prospective first-generation college students.

A photo of Professor Mitch Reyes Professor Mitch ReyesThis past June, nine rising Roosevelt seniors participated in Lewis & Clark’s inaugural College Success Program, where they learned essential skills to prepare for college with the close support of four Lewis & Clark “near-peer mentors.” The innovative two-week program was developed by Mitch Reyes, professor and chair of rhetoric and media studies, who has facilitated a relationship between the college and Roosevelt High School for more than a decade.

A grant from the Mellon Foundation is supporting the development and implementation of the College Success Program. The grant funded Reyes’s 2022 summer pilot and will also support the program for two additional summers. Lewis & Clark’s Center for Community and Global Health has joined Reyes as a program collaborator.

In the years to come, Reyes hopes to grow the program to serve more students, encouraged by the positive feedback from the inaugural class.

“I’ve seen the Roosevelt students go on to graduate from college and become teachers and community advocates,” said Reyes. “I feel we are helping to address systemic inequality one student at a time.”