Chancellor Blumenthal visits Seaside High School as part of 'Achieve UC' program

UC Santa Cruz Chancellor George Blumenthal visited Seaside High School on October 30 to inspire and motivate 200 students to apply and attend college. His visit was one of many "Achieve UC" events occurring throughout California urging students to aspire to prepare for and enroll in college. The Achieve UC events are sponsored by the UC Office of the President.

"No matter what your origins, your background, or your financial means, UC welcomes all who make the grade," Chancellor Blumenthal told students during the school visit. He also shared about a few of his college experiences, telling the students that he learned about the world around him and how to make good decisions in college. He also admitted that he dreaded his English class but grew to love it. “And you’ll meet friends that you will keep in touch with for the rest of your life,” Blumenthal added.

For many students at Seaside High School, financial issues may be a barrier to higher education.

“Let me tell you about the Blue and Gold Opportunity plan: If your family’s income is under $80,000, the Blue and Gold plan ensures that you will pay nothing in tuition to attend the University of California. Not one dollar,” Blumenthal said.

Monica Tran, a second-year UCSC student, spoke after Blumenthal and shared that she was able to pay for her college tuition through various scholarships and Cal Grants. Tran is an alumna of Seaside High School too. College, she said, help her build her “toolbox” of skills – from organizational skills to communication skills that enable her to describe complex ideas to a larger audience.

Tran excited the student crowd by talking about many of her own experiences — from preserving the environment to lobbying for the solar panels that now exist at her alma mater. During her first year at college, Tran was part of the lobbying group that secured funding to have solar panels in schools. “You too can have an impact on the world when you go to college,” she said.

Chancellor Blumenthal spoke about a number of UCSC programs, including astronomy and genomics. Professor Sandra Faber, an astronomer, was awarded the National Medal of Science from President Obama. And Professor David Haussler was one of the first to crack the genomic code.

"I can talk about UCSC all day," the chancellor added. "But I would rather have you come visit. One of my favorite events at UCSC is the Martin Luther King Jr. Convocation. I want you to come to that. I'll make you a deal: If Seaside High School agrees to provide the buses to UCSC, I will pay for your dinner and then after dinner you can come watch the Martin Luther King Jr. Convocation. Deal?"

"Deal!" replied Seaside High School Principal Carlos Moran.

In concluding his visit, Chancellor Blumenthal said: "So, yes, I'm biased. I think UC Santa Cruz is a great school. But my message today is un-biased: Go to college, wherever you choose. What matters is that you go to college. If you choose a UC campus, we will help you in every way we can. So, work hard, keep your grades up, and realize your dreams."