Bayview resident is making a difference

Ngozi-Ogbonna-referees-YMCA, Bayview resident is making a difference, Culture Currents Meet Ngozi Ogbonna. Ngozi has lived in the Bayview her whole life. Graduating from Immaculate Conception Academy in 2011, she now attends San Francisco State University.

Ngozi is making a difference in the world. Volunteering four days a week at her local YMCA, coaching basketball and refereeing, Ngozi doesn’t just say she cares about her community; she lives out that caring. She works with 5- to 11-year-olds, and believes she’s helping to positively shape the next generation.

Volunteering is important, Ngozi, says, because there are challenges to growing up and becoming an adult. Especially when your peers are not moving in the right direction, it can be hard to determine the right things to do with your life.

Ngozi sees adolescents hanging out around her neighborhood when they should be going to school. If she could give them – and all young people in her community – words of advice, she would say: “Go to school. Finish high school and have the option to go to college. It teaches you things about life, even if you think it’s not worth your time.” She emphasized that in the long run education helps people get ahead.

What has helped Ngozi succeed? Ngozi attributes her appreciation of education, and her job success, largely to her time at Immaculate Conception Academy, or ICA. Ngozi reflected on her time at ICA saying: “ICA teaches girls to be independent while also learning how to make a difference in the world. Whenever possible, help those around you.”

When Ngozi started high school, she was very shy. But ICA had a lot of community events that helped her be more outgoing. Now she is the person who welcomes new people who sit by themselves. She is a leader in many ways. She played basketball and volleyball throughout her high school career, along with taking on other leadership roles in ICA’s Ambassador’s Club, BLOCK Society and Black Student Union.

ICA focuses on getting girls into college and has had a 100 percent college acceptance rate the last several years. When asked how ICA helps its students become strong college candidates, Ngozi commented: “It’s about the checklists. The college counselor starts promoting college and the requirements to being accepted on day one of high school.” She continued, saying that “while it initially seems overwhelming, all the things you need to do to go to college, the college counselor walks with you all along the way, encouraging you and helping you to succeed.”

At ICA, no student is denied access to quality, college preparatory education because of a lack of ability to pay. ICA is able to provide this because of its unique work study program. Through this program, all students work at least one day a week in corporate entry-level jobs at companies throughout the Bay Area. These jobs help fund a substantial portion of the cost of educating each student, while also giving them four years of professional work experience.

At ICA, no student is denied access to quality, college preparatory education because of a lack of ability to pay. ICA is able to provide this because of its unique work study program.

While the cost of educating a student at ICA is $15,800, the innovative work study program enables students to earn a majority of that cost. Also, for students who enter ICA with lower academic scores, ICA’s dedicated faculty and rigorous curriculum enable them to graduate ready to enter college.

“The Corporate Work Study Program teaches women to take initiative when they see an opportunity,” Ngozi said. High school students get the rare opportunity to work around adults, become comfortable with shaking hands, having conversation and succeeding in the work place. Law firms, accounting firms, hospitals and media companies are just a few examples of businesses where ICA students work.

A recent graduate, Anastasia Crespo, recently told ICA after a successful job interview: “All that Cristo Rey work experience paid off! I feel that using all the skills I was taught during those weeks of training really helped me get this job!”

Is ICA right for you?

• ICA is right for any student who is academically capable and college-bound, even if her current grades don’t reflect it. A dedication to success is all a student needs to get up to speed.

• ICA students must come from families of limited financial means. The school is committed to serving students who otherwise would not be able to afford private Catholic education.

• ICA students must be employable. Since all students work at least one day a week in corporate, clerical jobs, they must be work-eligible.

Interested in sending your daughter to ICA? Contact the Admissions Department for more information: (415) 824-2052.