Pacific Students Give Backpacks, Supplies, Hope to Cleveland School Students
When Kyle Sasai learned that Stockton has one of the highest student dropout rates in the nation he was dismayed. When Sasai heard that the number of students who graduate from high school and go on to college was even lower he decided that he was going to become a part of the solution.
Sasai has spent much of the last year developing the Hope Street, a program that came to fruition today at noon. He worked with Pacific's Legal Scholars to give backpacks and encouragement to 64 eighth grade students at Cleveland Elementary.
Hope Street is a program designed to encourage middle school students to receive their high school diploma and aim for a college degree. The eighth grade students at Cleveland Elementary received new backpacks filled with school supplies. The backpacks were presented to the students today after Sasai, along with eight other Pacific students, spoke to the Cleveland students in small groups, giving them words of advice about high school, college and reaching for their dreams.
"I had worked on a similar project for the Richmond Rescue Mission while in high school," Sasai said. "When Mayor Ann Johnston spoke to the Legal Scholars about becoming involved in the community, I immediately thought about the benefits backpacks could bring to students in Stockton."
This is the first year for the Hope Street program. Sasai reached out to those who had helped the Richmond Rescue Mission for donations of backpacks and supplies. The Legal Scholars plan to have fundraisers next year to help Hope Street become self sustaining and also allow it to expand to more schools in Stockton.
"Having a personal backpack is one material object that can represent the seriousness required to be one of the Cleveland University Bound Scholars (C.U.B.S.)," said Heidi Mohammadkhan, Principal of Cleveland Elementary.
C.U.B.S., also representing the schools tiger cubs mascot, is a name that encourages all students at Cleveland Elementary to attend college.
Sasai, 17, is a freshman studying Political Science in the College of the Pacific, the University's Liberal Arts School. He plans to attend law school after graduation where he is considering concentrating on constitutional law.
Pacific's Legal Scholars Program works with the Pacific McGeorge School of Law to offer an accelerated honors law program. Legal Scholars are exposed to many facets of the legal profession throughout their college career.