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PEPP Students Get a Jump on Their College Course Requirements

Article about PEPP students earning college credits

by Joe Savrock (May 2008)

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Three participants of the Penn State Educational Partnership Program (PEPP) have a running start on their college careers, even before they graduate from high school this year.

Paola Castello, Yesenia Alvarez, and Inez Ramos were among 30 seniors at Reading (Pa.) High School who recently passed the Spanish College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) exam. By virtue of their solid test performance, each student earned 12 college credits toward their Spanish course requirements.

High school seniors can test out of future college classes by passing a CLEP exam in any of 34 different subjects—one of which is Spanish. Since Spanish is the native language for most of the Reading High School students, the Spanish CLEP was an excellent opportunity for them to receive college credit based on what they already know.

“I'm so proud of our students and all of the Latinas who successfully passed the Spanish CLEP exam,” said Guadalupe Kasper, program manager of PEPP–Reading.

PEPP, an outreach of the College of Education, is an early-intervention collaboration between Penn State and a growing number of Pennsylvania school districts. Since 1989, PEPP has been helping underrepresented youth realize their educational potential. Students in grades 5–12 take part in extracurricular activities that expose them to college life and career opportunities.

To offset the students’ CLEP test fee, several organizations in the Reading area raised money by holding community events. One sponsor, Latina Gathering—an organization that Kasper co-founded in 2003—used funds from its annual Fashion Show that took place in March. Latina Gathering was established to empower Latina women to be an effective voice in the community.

One of the three PEPP students is set to become part of the Penn State College of Education student body. Castello has enrolled in the Elementary Education program at Penn State Berks.

Alvarez plans to attend Kutztown University as an international business major; Ramos will be attending Albright College and is leaning toward a degree in accounting.