Bypass the primary and secondary navigation and continue reading the main body of the page

44 local students complete REACH summer program

The University of La Verne’s REACH/Fleischer residential summer program, directed by Professor of Management Dr. Issam Ghazzawi of the College of Business, is designed to put college within “reach” of local high school students. The three-week residential program mainly serves high school juniors who would be the first in their families to attend college. The program includes welcoming and commencement ceremonies, classes taught by University of La Verne faculty, and outings to local businesses and landmarks. Thanks to Mort Fleischer, the Pomona Unified School District, and other generous donors, the program, which includes meals and lodging in university housing, was provided at no cost to this summer’s 44 participants.

The program opened with a welcome BBQ on June 2, followed by an breakfast ceremony on June 3, featuring keynote speaker Dr. Elizabeth Eminhizer, Superintendent of the Covina Valley Unified School District.

During the three weeks, students learned about management and organization, marketing, economics, accounting, finance, creating a business website, success skills, entrepreneurship, teamwork, and environmental sustainability. Guest speakers included leaders from the Metropolitan Water District of
Southern California, Three Valleys Water District, Sam’s Club, the Lemonade Game, the Fleischer Scholarship, the Small Business Development Center, Clifton Larson Allen LLP “CLA”, Deloitte, and  Southern California Edison.

REACH participants also learned useful information about college admissions and financial aid.  Members of the University of La Verne Enactus club served as counselors and mentors to the students.

The central activity of the REACH program is a business plan competition. The 44 students were divided into eight groups composed of five or six students each. Each business plan had to include everything from the cost of leasing premises to the required licenses and permits to the cost of equipping, staffing, financial projections, and marketing. Students had to produce an organizational chart, financial projections, and a business website. Nine business plans
were presented on June 18, 2024 to 14 business and community leaders who volunteered to judge the competition.  The teams who made it to the Final Four were Gain Grub, Fit Forma, Pic to Plate, and Stache’s Pizza.

Graduation was held for participating students on Friday, June 22, 2024, in the Ann & Steve Morgan Auditorium on the University of La Verne campus. The ceremony featured welcome messages from Acting President of the University of La Verne, Mr. Mark Hicks, the Dean of the College of Business Dr. Emmeline de Pillis, and Dr. Krystana Walks-Harper, Assistant Superintendent of the Pomona Unified School District who served as the
graduation keynote speaker.

Dr. Krystana Walks-Harper and Ms. Brenda Caldera of Sam’s Club Corporate received the program’s Leadership Spirit Award. Mr. Sean Snider of La Verne’s Small Business Development Center received the Julie Caston Hicks Award, in memory of the late Julie Caston-Hicks, a former REACH advisory board member who passed away in December 2018. The award is bestowed on an individual or an organization who has exhibited unwavering dedication to and support of the program.

In a post-program survey, 95.5% of program participants indicated they intended to attend college. 86% indicated that the camp changed their perspective on college life, and 64% of participants indicated that the camp changed their perspective positively about business.