Students come to EPAA with far fewer advantages than their peers at other area high schools, making their accomplishments even more impressive. Most are low-income students of color and English language learners. Many work part-time or full-time to support their families. Despite these challenges, in 2018 100% of our students graduated from EPAA, and 83% went on to attend a 2 or 4 year college.

Meet Lupe Maafu:

2016 EPAA Graduate, UC Davis Student


“EPAA is very family-oriented. Teachers would stay after school to help me apply to colleges. They go to your games and have lunch with you. They stay connected with you in and out of school, during school, and while you are in college.”

“At EPAA, I learned how to do research. In a college bio class, I had to present a call to action for a disease, in front of hundreds of kids. After the presentation, the professor said, ‘I never knew you had this in you.’ People in my group didn’t know how to make presentations. Even though I’m a minority first-generation student, there are things I can teach my peers.”

“I know that you need a degree in order to reach your dreams and career. College has helped me find who I really am and what I want to do. It’s also allowed me to meet new people from other cultures and understand others’ backgrounds. I meet students who have had similar experiences to mine, and I realize that I’m not the only first-generation college student. You realize you’re not on your own – others are fighting the same fight.”

“When I came to college, the class environments were totally different compared to the culture in classes at EPAA. This made it hard for me to ask questions in class and have one-on-one conversations with my professors. I was too afraid to ask for help when I needed it, and I didn’t do as well as I wanted to.”

“I knew I wanted to make a change. I had to take a step closer to every challenge that came near, instead of running away. I reminded myself of my roots and the reasons why I made it this far. I told myself I couldn’t let the small challenges that I would inevitably face in college affect my success.”

“I got involved. I became a member of Hall Council in my dorm hall and participated with a volunteer program on campus. I pushed myself to get out of my shell. I made more new friends and created study groups with classmates. As a result, I’ve been doing much better in my classes.”

“I’m humbly determined to achieve the goals and dreams I hold for myself. With EPAAF’s help and support, I was able to begin this journey to college. You are one of the reasons I am able to build myself up and blossom into the woman I am to become.”

Meet Malia Langi:

2017 EPAA Graduate,
California State University Sacramento Class of 2021