At the end of his junior year at White Plains High School, Christopher was nominated by his School Counselor to join the Latino U Scholars program. Once enrolled, Chris was matched with first-time volunteer College Coach Carlos Almodovar. Over the school year, they developed a very close bond. The pair would meet weekly at Starbucks to develop Christopher’s college list and work on his applications and personal statement.
Ultimately, Chris’ goal was to enroll in a college on the West Coast. With Carlos’ continued guidance and encouragement, Chris has decided to begin his college journey at Chapman University in California this fall.
Learn more about Chris and Carlos by reading our interview with them below.
What was it like working together as a Coach and Scholar?
Carlos: Working with Chris was a collaborative, insightful, and rewarding experience. During the course of our weekly sessions, I came to learn so much about Chris, his background, dreams, and aspirations. I could not have asked for a better Scholar and seeing Chris work diligently on his college application -despite all of his outside activities and responsibilities – motivated me to be the best Coach I can be.
Chris: Working with Carlos over the past couple of months was amazing, and I am beyond grateful for everything he has done for me. Since we first met, I saw how committed he was and how much he enjoyed helping, which meant a lot to me. We met on a weekly basis and every meeting was very productive. Carlos would also stay up late with me when I submitted my applications which is also something I really appreciated.
What’s something that you’ve learned from each other?
Carlos: Over time, I came to learn what Chris values in life and how these values shape his view on college. Chris is all about helping others, his faith, and seeing things through. He is also a person of great character and open to hearing different points of view. As we embarked on his college journey, these factors guided us to specific universities that also embodied these ideals. I appreciated his commitment to staying true to himself, which at a young age is not an easy thing to do.
Chris: Carlos is a man that loves what he does. He loves being with his family and would often share stories about his kids with me. Something that I admired from the very beginning was his commitment to LUCA and how much he wanted to help me succeed. He would always put his best effort into everything we did together and made sure we included everything needed in any of my essays and applications. Over time, I got to learn more about the type of person Carlos was and how much he enjoyed working with me.
What’s the best part about working together?
Carlos: The best part about working with Chris was hearing his perspective and views on different things. Chris is very thoughtful, and I enjoyed our conversations regarding colleges, family, sports, or other events going on in the world. It was during many of these conversations that I really got to know Chris and realized how special he is.
Chris: Carlos has helped me with a lot. He helped me with essays, scholarships, college applications, and more which all led to me getting into many of my dream schools. The most rewarding part of having him as my coach, however, is the bond that we were able to build during this time. Carlos got to know me very well personally, and I got to know him very well also. Carlos is someone that I hope stays in my life for a very long time. I would not trade the relationship we built for anything.
Carlos, what are your hopes for Chris’ future?
My hope for Chris’ immediate future is for him to truly experience all the possibilities that college and California have to offer. Long-term, I want Chris to find a career that is true to his values and allows him to use his creative and entrepreneurial talents.
Chris, what are you most excited about in this new chapter as you graduate high school and become a first-year student at Chapman University?
I’ve always been a person that loves trying new things – so I’d say that having new experiences, meeting new people, and seeing new places are what I am most excited for. College is a whole different world and is nothing like high school (from what I’ve heard), and I am excited to see what the future will look like. I am also excited to be able to contribute to the Hispanic community and communities of color by getting involved in clubs and events at my school or possibly even starting my own club. I am proud to be a first-generation Latino college student.
Carlos, what can you share about your experience as a volunteer College Coach?
In early 2019, I started to look for ways where I could actively give back to my community. I came across LUCA and can say that my experience as a volunteer College Coach has greatly exceeded my expectations. Knowing that I played a direct part in helping Chris achieve his college dreams was so fulfilling that I have signed up as a Coach for another year!
As a LUCA College Coach, you have the potential to directly impact the lives of first-generation students who lack the resources, finances, and experiences of other college applicants. There is no more rewarding and fulfilling experience than to work hand-in-hand with these amazing students on their college journey and to share in the joy of their family as they see the potential life changes that college can bring.