Students excel at Sacramento High School

Article KCRA - June 7, 2017Reporter: Mike Luery

There’s been a dramatic turnaround at Sacramento High School.

Fourteen years ago, it was in danger of closing. Now, it’s a charter school with 800 students operating under St. Hope Public Schools. About 95 percent of all graduating seniors have been accepted into four-year colleges or universities for the second consecutive year.

One-third of all the students at Sacramento High School are from the surrounding neighborhood of Oak Park. But because it’s a charter school, Sacramento High must accept everyone who applies.

Once they arrive, students are immersed in a college-prep environment, where counselor David Marks shows them how to apply for grants and scholarships that can open the doors to a college degree.

“We don’t weed students out in any way,” Marks said. “We are just always pushing this college education and we just believe that’s the best way for these students to make it to the next level of life.”


Gregory Gilliam

“Sac High expects you to follow your goals, follow your dreams,” said Gregory Gilliam, a senior at Sacramento High who plans to study computer science at UC Berkeley, where he received a full scholarship.

Yuliett Gonzalez is heading to UC Davis to study human development.

“I’m the first generation to not only graduate high school but go off to college and even be accepted into college,” she said.

Yuliett Gonzalez

Sacramento High School has given her a sense of purpose, she said.

“I feel like being a school majority, students of color and students that look like me, I feel that really empowered me and made me feel important here on campus,” Gonzalez said.

Destyni Freese is also the first in her family to attend college. She is bound for USC to study history. She gives credit to the culture at Sacramento High for moving her forward.

“You already know you’re going to college,” she said. “You come in and they tell you, ‘Yeah you’re going to college.’ It’s in the official mission. You have no choice, pretty much.”

Destyni Freese

The lessons have paid off for Ashley Saephan, who graduated from Sacramento High School four years ago and then UC Berkeley last month. Now, she’s back working with Marks to pursue her goal of becoming a college counselor.

“Because of Mr. Marks and everyone else who’s helped me along my journey, I want to give back,” she said.

At Sacramento High, there’s a lot of giving back and looking forward.

This year, graduating seniors at Sacramento High School have been accepted at all 23 California State University campuses, and all nine campuses at the University of California.

The school’s graduation ceremony is Saturday at Sacramento’s Memorial Auditorium.