ACES program helps students get to college and succeed

ACES program helps students get to college and succeed. (ABC7)

Montgomery College freshman Amanuel Awoke knew he wanted to go to college but had no idea what it would take to get there.

"I was sort of lost because there's so much information you don't really know what you don't know," he recalled.

His high school ACES coach helped him secure financial aid and successfully navigate the college application process.

Brenda Lantz is an ACES Academic Coach at Montgomery College and explained, "ACES is an academic success program. We help students get into college and we help students succeed in college."

ACES, which stands for Achieving Collegiate Excellence and Success is a partnership between Montgomery College, Montgomery County Public Schools and the Universities at Shady Grove.

Coaches work with at-risk students at ten high schools in Montgomery County.

Terre' Thomas serves as an academic coach at Clarksburg High School.

"We do a lot of workshops that deal with communication and financial literacy, it's not just the college application process," she advised.

Students who go on to Montgomery College and the Universities at Shady Grove are paired with an ACES coach there to continue the support. 19-year-old Yoana Rodriguez is in her first year at Montgomery College.

She says her ACES coaches in high school and college have assisted her in numerous ways.

"She helped me set up my course scheduling, with financial aid, with scholarships everything I really needed," she shared.

Rodriquez also credits ACES with helping her increase her grade point average. In high school it was about 1.7 and has risen to 3.7.

Research shows students enrolled in the program have higher grade point averages, are more likely to pass their courses and stay in college.

Rodriguez plans to continue her education and eventually become a high school guidance counselor.

"Having all this recognition for doing so well and having my professors tell me I can do things, it's just that I can and I know I will," she said.

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