SOURCE: Nicholas Academic Centers

Nicholas Academic Centers

June 14, 2012 15:00 ET

82 Santa Ana High School Students Beat the Odds, Applauded by Orange County Community and Business Leaders

Nicholas Academic Centers (NACs) Honor College-Bound Class of 2012 and Their Achievements as They Head to the Nation's Top Tier Universities

SANTA ANA, CA--(Marketwire - Jun 14, 2012) - Behind each beaming smile is a story of rising above challenges and exceeding the potential to achieve academic success, independence and pride. From hopelessness to self-determination, 82 high school graduates from Santa Ana received well-deserved recognition at the 4th Annual Nicholas Academic Centers' Graduation Celebration held at the Westin South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa.

Dr. Thelma Melendez de Santa Ana, Santa Ana Unified School District Superintendent, Dr. Donald Cardinal, Dean of the College of Educational Studies at Chapman University, and Miguel Pulido, Mayor of the City of Santa Ana joined Nicholas Academic Centers' founders Dr. Henry T. Nicholas, III and (retired) Judge Jack K. Mandel in applauding the college-bound NACs class of 2012. Each high school graduate was presented a certificate and a college sweatshirt from the university where they will be attending in fall. The list of prestigious universities where the NACs students were accepted includes University of Notre Dame, UCLA, Denison College and more.

"The road these students took to get where they are today was not easy," said Hugo Gutierrez, NACs' executive director and mentoring program alumnus. "During their sophomore and junior years of high school, they made a commitment to succeed beyond their wildest dreams and worked tirelessly to earn excellent grades and apply themselves to attend top colleges and universities around the country."

The youth participated in the programs offered at the two Nicholas Academic Centers in Santa Ana and on average invested 500 hours attending after-school tutoring, mentoring and college preparation sessions. The mission of the NACs is to provide support for underserved high school students in order to improve their academic performance, achieve their full scholarly and social potential, promote their admission to colleges and universities, offer guidance from first year through graduation, and to impart the skills and knowledge necessary for them to live successful and productive lives. During the last two years the program has graduated more than 140 students. Of the NACs graduates who attend four-year colleges 96% are still enrolled and excelling academically, compared to a national average of 77%.

About The Nicholas Academic Center

The Nicholas Academic Centers (NACs) were established in 2008 by Dr. Henry T. Nicholas, III in partnership with retired Judge Jack K. Mandel. The centers are supported by grants from the Henry T. Nicholas, III Foundation, which has committed to investing $10 million in the programs. With two locations in Santa Ana, NACs strive to provide academic assistance, social services, cultural enrichment programs, college connection opportunities, and need based scholarship opportunities for students who meet the program requirements. For more information, visit

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