Jorel Sarmiento isn’t your average 17-year-old high school student. He goes to college. As a senior at John F. Kennedy High School in Fremont, Sarmiento joined Ohlone’s College Connection Program to get a taste and feel for what the next chapter in his life would actually be like.
The Ohlone College Connection Program gives high school seniors the opportunity to complete their high school coursework on the Ohlone campus while still engaging in fun senior year activities like senior ball, grad night, and walking across the stage with their classmates for graduation. College Connection students take high school classes in the morning and the college classes of their choice in the afternoon. Students get college credit for the classes they take, begin to fulfill their general education requirements for college, with the added bonus that the tuition for the courses is free.
“Taking classes at Ohlone has helped me focus more on my education without all of the drama that goes on in high school,” says Sarmiento. “The program has given me a real head start in getting my college credits and to see what a college campus is like while being a high school senior.”
While Sarmiento focuses on his education at JFK and Ohlone, he’s still able to balance a strenuous extracurricular schedule—running cross country, holding office in the Pinoy Pamilya Club at JFK High, and, not to mention, video production.
Sarmiento was so inspired by his experience at Ohlone that he decided to create a promotional College Connection video. With a cell phone, the help of fellow College Connection student Alexxus Domingo, and a few other students in the program, he produced and posted the video on his YouTube channel.
“I wanted other students in the Fremont and Newark schools to know about this awesome opportunity,” says Sarmiento. “It’s helped me so much in becoming a more independent student, prepared me for the realities of college, and I’ve made a lot of close friends.”
The College Connection program is open to high school seniors at any public high school in the Fremont and Newark Unified School Districts. Students must be in good academic standing and meet the program’s minimum GPA and academic requirements.