MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. -- Dozens of high schoolers in Manatee and Sarasota Counties are using summer break to make sure they're ready to get into college.
- Future Leaders Academy designed to help students prep for college
- College prep program for Latino students in Manatee, Sarasota
- The program is run by the organization UnidosNow
These high schoolers have big dreams. Some want to become neurosurgeons, others are interested in music education and political science.
The Future Leaders Academy is ready to make these dreams happen.
The Future Leaders Academy is a comprehensive college prep program for Latino students in Manatee and Sarasota counties.
"We want to make sure that the Latinos understand the opportunities that they have but also that they fulfill their own potential and that they become the leaders of tomorrow," said Luz Corcuera, the Executive Director of UnidosNow.
They're guiding them, from filling out college applications to writing admissions essays, during the year long program.
"Being first generation, my parents have no experience with the college process whatsoever. So being able to receive guidance from UnidosNow has really helped me out," said Janathan Bruzon, who is attending the program from Riverview High School.
The Latino population in Sarasota and Manatee Counties has grown by 350 percent in the last seven years. The goal is to get more of them into college.
In fact, since it started five years ago, every student has gotten into highly competitive universities -- some even headed to ivy leagues.
"They've definitely supported every one of our dreams and goals. And the best thing about them is that they never tell us that we're reaching too far," said Alana Kelly, a senior from Braden River High School.
UnidosNow, the organization that runs the program, says students in the Future Leaders Academy have earned over a million dollars in scholarships and grants.