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The 13th Year Promise Scholarship


The 13th Year Promise Scholarship

Table of Contents Endless Opportunity 2, 3 Myron Ramirez 4, 5 Timeline 6, 7 Eqraa Dubad 8, 9 Austin Moungchanh 10,11 About South 12, 13 Vane Khouansysombath 14, 15 Support Services 16, 17 Louise Faye Parafina 18, 19 Merissa McEwan 20, 21 13th Year by the Numbers 22, 23 Niyah Gonzales 24, 25 Dale Pancho 26, 27 Funding Dreams 28, 29 Contact Information 30


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One Year of Free College… Endless Opportunity The 13th Year Promise Scholarship guarantees that all graduating seniors from area high schools have the opportunity to attend South Seattle College tuition-free for one year. The ultimate mission is to increase access to higher education for our community’s students, particularly those from underrepresented groups including students of color, low-income students and first-generation college students. Each year since the program began serving students in 2008, hundreds of 13th Year scholars come to South with their minds focused on their studies and their future, instead of how they’ll cover tuition. Through a combination of private philanthropic gifts and financial aid rewards, tuition costs can take a back seat to education.

The scholarship is based on research from the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges that demonstrates obtaining a high school diploma and one year of college is the critical “tipping point” for students to find living-wage jobs and/or continue his or her education. Please read on to learn more about the program, its history and impact, and hear from the scholars themselves who have directly benefited from a 13th Year Promise Scholarship.

In addition to financial support, every scholar receives free vital support services to help them start college with the skills and confidence needed to succeed.

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Myron Ramirez Myron Ramirez is a 13th Year alum who illustrates the incredible impact one year of free college can have on a young person’s trajectory in life. Before coming to South from Cleveland High School, Myron was unsure of his path forward. Allowed the time and support to explore his skills and interests at South, he discovered a knack for project management and a love for the construction industry. Myron transferred to the University of Washington in 2013, and graduated in 2015 with his degree in Construction Management. Today, he is a project engineer for a Bellevue-based construction company.

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“South provided me with the capability to overcome challenges I faced at the University of Washington.� - Myron Ramirez, 13th Year Scholar

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Timeline Since 2008, Helping Our Community Rise Aug. 2010 First 13th Year Coordinator is hired, becoming a vital point of contact for 13th Year scholars.

Sept. - Dec. 2010

2006 - 2007 South Seattle College Foundation Board, during a retreat, comes up with the 13th Year Promise Scholarship idea. Foundation staff starts researching the idea and holding conversations with high schools.

Sept. 2008 Sept. 2007

First group of 13th Year scholars from Cleveland enroll and start college at South.

13th Year Promise Scholarship begins with a pilot program at Cleveland High School in Seattle’s Beacon Hill neighborhood. Free year of tuition is announced to graduating seniors.

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Intensive “Readiness Academy” is developed to prepare high school students for college and help them with the enrollment process.


Sept. 2014

May 2013 Jan. 2011 13th Year Promise Scholarship expands to Chief Sealth High School in West Seattle with a surprise announcement to all seniors. Seattle TV stations and newspapers cover the event and capture the excitement.

Seattle Channel does an in-depth feature story on the 13th Year Promise Scholarship for their CityStream series, introducing the groundbreaking program to a citywide audience.

The first 13th Year scholars from Rainier Beach High School join their fellow cohorts from Cleveland and Chief Sealth in enrolling and starting college.

Jan. 2015

U.S. President Barack Obama announces a proposal to make two years of community college free across America. The Seattle Times runs a front-page story on the 13th Year Promise Scholarship as a local example of how such a program might work, and how it benefits the community.

Nov. 2013 Into the Future

The 13th Year Promise Scholarship expands again, this time to Rainier Beach High School in Seattle’s Rainier Valley neighborhood. Eyes widened and smiles emerged as South President Gary Oertli made the surprise announcement to RBHS seniors. Print Plans include expanding the 13th Year Promise and broadcast media covered the surprise event and it became a hit, with news stations Scholarship to West Seattle High School and from Hawaii to Florida running the feel-good story across the nation. sustaining the program in perpetuity.

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“South has prepared me for my education after graduation by challenging me academically, while giving me opportunities to serve my community and inspiring me to achieve success and nothing less.� - Eqraa Dubad, 13th Year Scholar

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Eqraa Dubad 13th Year Scholar Eqraa Dubad is working hard to become, in her words, a “humble pediatrician� by taking prerequisite classes at South in preparation for medical school. Having her first year of college covered financially by the 13th Year Scholarship, Eqraa was able to focus on her studies and interests. She was drawn to pediatrics because of her ongoing passion to serve others and her desire to always remain in touch with her humane side.

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Austin Moungchanh Since losing his father in 2012, Austin Moungchanh has taken on an expanded role in caring for his family, including his decision to obtain a higher education with the help of the 13th Year Promise Scholarship. After graduating from South with his associate degree, Austin plans to earn his Ph.D. in psychology and work as a clinical or forensic psychologist. He says the 13th Year program provided the support he needed, both financially and structurally, so he could find his passion for helping others.

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“The 13th Year Promise Scholarship allowed me to take the time I needed to decide what I wanted to do.�

- Austin Moungchanh, 13th Year Scholar

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South Seattle College Where the 13th Year Scholars Begin Their Journey Located in West Seattle, the South Seattle College campus sits on 87 beautifully-landscaped acres overlooking Elliot Bay and the Duwamish River. It is the ideal learning environment for all of South’s students, including the 13th Year scholars. We serve a multicultural population of 15,000 students a year and offer a comprehensive array of programs that match the skills, passion and goals of our community, from learning English as a second language to earning a Bachelor of Applied Science degree. 13th Year students have several educational paths to choose from, including academic degrees that pave the way for transferring to a four-year university and over 27 career training pathways that create a fast track to living-wage jobs in today’s skill-focused economy.

“You have a great opportunity before you, and dedicated people who are here for your support. Our goal is to make sure you not only receive a higher education at our college, but I shake your hand at Benaroya Hall when you graduate.”

- South Seattle College President Gary Oertli, speaking to Chief Sealth High School seniors and soon to be 13th Year scholars.

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Vane Khouansysombath Vane Khouansysombath moved to Seattle from Thailand with her family at the age of four, grew up in West Seattle and attended Chief Sealth International High School. She remembers clearly the day a 13th Year Promise Scholarship advisor came to Sealth and told her about the program. She saw it as an opportunity to become the first in her family to attend college, and enrolled at South in 2013. That first year biology classes sparked her interest, and she is now pursuing an Associate of Science degree with plans to study animal sciences at Washington State University. Vane is also the co-founder of the Southeast Asian Association at South Seattle College. She credits the 13th Year support services with helping her find success in higher education.

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“The 13th Year staff guided me through my first year of college and gave me advice for my future academic career. They were always here to help.� - Vane Khouansysombath, 13th Year Scholar

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A Promise of Great Support Services The 13th Year Promise Scholarship not only provides a full year of free tuition, but a host of support services as well. To ensure every 13th Year scholar has the greatest chance at college success, they also take part in a Readiness Academy, COMPASS Improvement Workshops and the 13th Year Bridge Program. Our dedicated 13th Year staff members are there from the start, supporting our scholars during their senior year of high school all the way through their first year of college.

The Readiness Academy is a series of required workshops high school seniors attend to take the guesswork out of enrolling for college at South.

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The 13th Year Bridge Program is an intensive three-day workshop on college success that 13th Year Scholars attend on South’s campus in the weeks before their first day of Fall Quarter. Topics include acclimating to the college campus, learning about college resources, and meeting key staff and faculty members.

COMPASS Improvement Workshops are offered to any scholars who test below college-level Math and English skills on the Seattle Colleges’ COMPASS placement test. For those who could use extra training, workshops are taught by college Math and English faculty. Participants learn the skills they need to improve on future tests.


Our 13th Year Staff plays a critically-important role in student success. They are there every step of the way, providing guidance to our scholars and their families both in the transition to college and during their first year.

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“The 13th Year Scholarship program helped me with my financial needs and the resources needed to further my education and achieve my goals as a college student.� - Louise Faye Parafina, 13th Year Scholar

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Louise Faye Parafina The 13th Year Promise Scholarship provided an avenue to college for Cleveland High School graduate Louise Parafina. As a Filipino immigrant, Louise was no stranger to facing the challenge of adjusting to new situations and conquering obstacles. The first in her family to attend college, Louise embraced the guidance and resources that are available to help 13th Year students thrive in a new environment. Her involvement in college activities, including ANNAPISI (a campus organization that celebrates and supports Asian American, Native American and Pacific Islander students) and the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, all play a part in her academic achievement. Upon earning her associate degree from South, Louise looks forward to transferring to a four-year university.

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Merissa McEwan If her tenacity as a student at South is any indication, Merissa McEwan will make an amazing nurse one day. As a Chief Sealth International High School graduate, she said she would not have been able to attend college due to financial constraints, but the 13th Year Scholarship changed that. Given the opportunity to attend a free year of college, she took full advantage by becoming an Honor Roll student and earning additional scholarships. For many, excelling in school is enough. For Merissa, it’s just the beginning: she is a standout older sibling, a middle school mentor and deftly juggles after-school jobs.

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“Without the 13th Year Scholarship I would not be in college. It gave me the opportunity to continue my education after high school so that I can become a nurse.� - Merissa McEwan, 13th Year Scholar

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13th Year by the Numbers Who are the 13th Year Promise Scholarship Scholars? 3% Native American 7% Pacific Islander

27% Black/African American

18% Hispanic/Latino

13th Year Students College-wide Students

17% White

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23% Asian/Asian American

Completion Rate Completion rates of 13th Year Promise Scholarship students is double the campus-wide completion rate.

16% 13th Year students who have children or other dependents to care for. 50% 13th Year students who say they would not have attended college if not for 13th Year Promise Scholarship. 60% 13th Year students who are first in their family to attend college.


Associate Degree Holder

*Based on 2015 earnings data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, looking at increased earnings over a 40-year career vs. someone with only a high school diploma.

Some College Experience

The increased earning power from even one year of college versus a high school diploma is significant over the course of an average 40-year career. For 13th Year scholars who attain an associate degree, those earnings only continue to rise.

High School Diploma

Career Earnings by Education Level $151,840 Average increased earnings over a career for those with some college experience.*

$257,920 Average increased earnings over a career for those with an associate degree.*

$1,389,440 $1,541,280 $1,647,360

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“Being a 13th Year scholar opened a lot of doors for me academically, and gave me a stable foundation to take on more responsibility as an adult and first year college student. I am learning more about life, diversity, and how to support myself and my peers here at South.� - Niyah Gonzales, 13th Year Scholar 24


Niyah Gonzales Niyah Gonzales felt great trepidation with the idea of starting college, but with the help of South’s 13th Year support staff and other mentors, she made it through that difficult first quarter and is now thriving as a confident business management student. Music has always been an important part of her life, and upon graduation she plans to open her own recording studio and develop a program that helps children with special needs express themselves “through the positive and creative outlet of music.”

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Dale Pancho 13th Year alum Dale Pancho studies psychology at Seattle University, and hopes to use his career to help others overcome challenges and realize their full potential, just as he’s done in pursuit of his education. As a 13th Year scholar at South, Dale wasted no time getting involved with the campus community as a Pacific Islander Club member. He also worked as a Peer Navigator, helping others navigate the sometimes rough waters encountered in college, as a way to give back to the school that helped jumpstart his future.

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“I cannot express enough how thankful I am to those who support the 13th Year Promise Scholarship. It has allowed me and hundreds of other students to achieve a higher education. Their support not only helps individual students, but their families and communities as well.� - Dale Pancho, 13th Year Scholar

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Funding The 13th Year Promise Scholarship has been funded by private philanthropic gifts since the beginning, with millions of dollars raised to help our community members attain a higher education and find a career they’ll love. Through their support, individuals and businesses have supported the dreams of hundreds of young people from the neighborhoods of West and South Seattle. In return, they’re seeing high school students become confident college scholars, whose skills and aspirations are given room to ignite and flourish thanks to a 13th Year Promise Scholarship.

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Dreams “I was there that day when the idea of the 13th Year Promise Scholarship gave birth, and it was obvious that it was something this foundation and this college had to do – had to do, not wanted to do – for every graduating senior from our area high schools. I am absolutely inspired by the 13th Year Scholars who come to South each year. Their professionalism, their spirit and their energy could light the city of Seattle, and I believe every one of them can make it big.” - Gene Colin South Seattle College Foundation Chair

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To Learn More 206.934.5809 ssccfoundation@seattlecolleges.edu www.southseattle.edu

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The 13th Year Promise Scholarship  

The 13th Year Promise Scholarship guarantees that all graduating seniors from area high schools have the opportunity to attend South Seattle...

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