Emma Gallegos and Daniel J. Willis
February 12, 2024
Christian Robinson always planned to go to college, but when she graduated from Adelanto High School in California’s High Desert, she felt aimless. Without a plan or preparation for higher education, she decided to go to work instead.
She regrets that now.
“I wish I would have gone straight into college because I would have had everything done, finished and over with,” said Robinson, who at 20 is now enrolling at Victor Valley College.
Currently, Robinson juggles two jobs, working for a security company and serving fast food. She wishes she had received more guidance about attending college from her school.
Robinson’s story was typical for Black students at Adelanto High School, where over 8 out of 10 Black students graduated in 2020 without the college prep courses — known as A-G — required for admission to California’s public universities.
The path has been different for her younger brother MarQuan Thornton, currently a high school senior at Adelanto. Months away from graduation, Thornton is one of a small group of students deciding not whether he will go to college, but which one.
Thornton has worked hard but recognizes that the key difference between his trajectory and his sister’s is the support he’s getting from school that did not exist during his sister’s time there.
Three years after his sister graduated, his high school began the Heritage Program, which is aimed at ensuring that Black students, like him, are on track to complete their A-G requirements.