A World of Possibilities” was the theme of the 2011 benefit for The Preuss School UCSD on May 14 at the Hyatt Regency-Aventine. The charter middle and high school’s mission is to provide a top-notch education for motivated, low-income students. Record-breaking net proceeds of $375,000 will be used in support of the school’s 820 students. The Preuss School has held seven annual fundraising celebrations.
Two graduates, Marco Murillo (class of 2004) and Jackie Nguyen (class of 2006), were the keynote speakers. Both were among the school’s first classes and each, while taking a different professional path (Murillo in politics and Nguyen in musical theater), came with a message that hard work and perseverance pay off.
“The Preuss School represents opportunity … to become anything we want through higher education, and to exceed above and beyond society’s expectations,” Nguyen said. After graduating from Cal-State Fullerton, she performed in the national tour of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” and is pursuing musical theater in Los Angeles and New York.
Murillo, a UCSD graduate and now a Ph.D. student at UCLA, also shared his views of the school. “Though my main goal was to attend college, my experience at Preuss became so much more than that,” he said. “For the first time, I had the opportunity to develop friendships with peers of different nationalities, ethnicities and race.”
Preuss principal Scott Barton told supporters, “Our students come from 41 different Zip codes, but they all have a common goal – to become the first in their families to graduate from college.”
This year, 95 percent of Preuss School seniors were accepted to four-year colleges and universities, with 81 percent accepted to at least one University of California campus, the largest percentage in school history. The Preuss School UCSD was recently named a California Distinguished School by the state’s Department of Education. In 2010, it was named a National Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education. It was also ranked 16th among America’s top 100 high schools by Newsweek and was the only California school in the top 20.