"Guides To Higher Education: At two local high schools, CollegeTracks is helping underpriviledged students get where they want to go" - Steve Roberts
"Montgomery County #1 in Graduation Rate"
June 10, 2009
By JOHN HENREHAN/myfoxdc
ROCKVILLE, Md. — Among the 50 largest school districts in the nation, Montgomery County Public Schools has tied for first place in graduation rates.Along with a school district in Cypress-Fairbanks, Texas, Montgomery County high schools graduate 80.7 percent of their students. . . .
Oscar Portillo, who graduated this month from Wheaton High School, is headed off to college next fall. His background would not suggest such academic success.
"My father went to sixth grade. That's the highest level he got," said Portillo. "And my mother went to second grade. That's the highest level she got. I wanted to be the first person in my family to graduate from high school."
Portillo has achieved that goal, and then some. After blasting through his English as a second language classes, he took demanding academic courses at the suggestion of his teachers and counselors. That choice and Oscar's subsequent solid grades prompted Middlebury College to offer Portillo a four-year scholarship covering tuition, room, and board.
Portillo is currently fluent in Spanish, English, and Italian. At college, he plans to study either Chinese or Japanese while earning a degree in international relations.
The 19-year-old student took advantage of the College Tracks program based at his high school. The program teaches students and their parents how to assess colleges, how to apply for admission, and how to ask for financial aid.