Cedar City school is rated as best in nation for low-income students
(KUTV) A Cedar City high school is "Beating the Odds" according to Newsweek Magazine, after earning the title of the number-one, low-income program in the country.
There are 400 students in the program, available for high schoolers at Southern Utah University and Dixie State University.
Each student has their own unique story. The program works with these students to self motivate and encourages them to have 60 college credits by graduation from high school.
Hector Cruz is a student well on his way to reaching that goal. He is a senior at Cedar High School and has been in the program for four years now.
During that time Hector has collected about 56 credits; that's college credits that were earned at Success Academy in Cedar City a school where nearly 45 percent are low-income students. Those same kids in the program have an average ACT score of 25 out of a possible 36.
"Success Academy has been around for eleven years," said school principal John Tripp.
Newsweek recently rated the program number one in the nation, out of 500 schools ranked for low-income students. On a separate chart it shows Success Academy rated at 18 in Americas Top High Schools 2015 overall.
"It's huge, were getting ready for another year and it's fantastic I think it's a real compliment," said Tripp.
He said there are no pre-requisites necessary to be accepted into the academy, their secret to success is getting to students early.
"They really are pushing themselves and it's nice to be recognized for these students," said Tripp.
Hectors mother, Nohemy, said her kids struck gold when they found the Success Academy.
"We come from a really bad neighborhood in Compton, California," she said.
She wanted better for her kids so they moved east going through Utah and stopped into Cedar City in 2005.
"We lived in Main Street Park for two weeks and were homeless. Imagine the 5 of us sleeping in a car."
Nohemy said the determination the children learned from that experience has helped them succeed through this program.
"I told my kids they need to take advantage of the opportunities and this program, and they did," Noehmy said.
Hector said the program has become apart of their family.
"That's what's good about this program they never leave you behind," he said.
The Success Academy program is offered at Southern Utah University and Dixie State University.
According to Newsweek, the graduation rate is 100 percent.