I read your article on “Program to close achievement gap opens future for SMMUSD seniors,” Feb. 1. It started off with one of our students, Logan Henderson, who we worked with in conjunction with the program Young Collegians, which services at-risk students to help them gain entrance into college. We helped Logan with school selection and his essays.

While Young Collegians is a wonderful program for the SMMUSD and I commend them, some things need to be put into perspective. Logan’s success was not based totally on the Young Collegians program; there were private, outside sources as well.

When I first met Logan, he was in the 11th grade. He worked part time at Ca’d’Oro as an office assistant. The CEO of the bakery, Chris Ryan, was very taken by this young man, and kept telling me he wanted me to assist Logan. He had taken on a personal interest to help Logan succeed.

While we often spoke about Logan and the massive issues he has had to face, the fear of never knowing what will come next, we all marveled at his determination and hunger to succeed.

One day, Chris contacted me and asked if The College Admissions Consultant, an outside college counseling company which assists students in mapping out their high school programs, prepares students for the SAT, ACT and SAT subject exams, and helps to brain storm and develop creative essays, would consider helping out Logan. I agreed to take on Logan as every year The College Admissions Consultant, Inc. takes in a few pro bono matters to help those at-risk students like Logan succeed.

While I am very grateful that there are programs like Young Collegians, all of Logan’s success can not be credited to this program alone. There have been a lot of fingerprints placed on Logan that have shaped who he has become, and while I am sure Logan is one of the star participants of this program, there is a lot that went on behind the scenes.

I am glad that SMMUSD has this great program, but to really build a solid educational base schools need to look at what the community can offer in the way of private contributions. The sad part is that the schools want to keep all of this information mum. Consequently, they turn away these wonderful resources in fear of losing jobs or programs. It’s sad to think of it that way when in California there is one counselor for every 810 students.

In Logan’s case many of us were able to work with him and hopefully have changed the course of his life forever. He is bright and dedicated and deserves to do well. While I embraced what the Young Collegians program has had to offer, students need to have access to not only the school programs, but to those private ones that may be able to enrich their lives. Logan’s success is based not just on the SMMUSD or the Young Collegians, it is based on a lot of finger prints and experiences, which have touched Logan that set him apart from others.


Patty Finer

Director, The College Admissions Consultant, Inc.

Malibu, Calif.

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