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July 9, 2012 Zaida Mejia graduated from Alliance Gertz-Ressler High School in 2008, and received her BA from Mills College in 2012. She is now pursuing an MA at Mills College and is on track to be the class of 2013. This piece is adapted from The Alert: News from Alliance College-Ready Public Schools.

I am honored to have graduated with a B.A. in Mathematics and a minor in Computer Science from Mills College, a college that produces strong, proud, and intelligent women. My family was very proud of me and overwhelmed by emotions seeing me at graduation.

These past four years at Mills were very challenging, and the knowledge and experiences I have obtained have changed me in many ways. Mills gave me the opportunity to explore different subjects. Mills also made me a more open-minded and understanding person towards the views of diverse people. I was very happy to be a member of Mills Leadership Action of Tomorrow, a student-run organization that focuses on raising awareness of immigration policies and helping AB-540 high school students through the college application process. I was also a member and treasurer of Mujeres Unidas, a club that focuses on Latina sisterhood and culture. During my senior year, I co-founded the collective for Women of color in Mathematics and Computer Science to support underprivileged women in computer science and math.

My immediate plans include going to grad school. Mills offers a program in which students from majors other than Computer Science can obtain their Masters in Interdisciplinary Computer Science. Since I already have a minor in computer science, I can complete the program within a year.

Upon receiving my Masters, I want to teach underprivileged children in public schools about the wonders of innovative technology. I have always wanted to give back to my community for the help and support I have received throughout my educational career.

About Alliance Gertz-Ressler High School
Alliance Gertz-Ressler High School is a public charter high school that provides a rigorous, personalized, standards-based curriculum in a supportive environment that prepares all students for entrance into and success in a four-year college or university. Alliance Gertz-Ressler High School achieved a 2011 Academic Performance Index (API) score of 842, ranking it the 7th top-performing public high school in LAUSD. Alliance Gertz-Ressler High School was recognized as a 2011 National Blue Ribbon School, it is the only school in LAUSD to receive this honor. Alliance Gertz-Ressler High School was also recognized as a 2010 Silver Medal EPIC Gains school for student achievement and a 2009 California Distinguished School, an award that recognizes the state's most exemplar, inspiring, and well-rounded community public schools.

*About Alliance College-Ready Public Schools *
The mission of Alliance College-Ready Public Schools, a nonprofit charter management organization, is to open and operate a network of small high-performing 9-12 and 6-8 public schools in historically underachieving, low income, communities in California that will annually demonstrate student academic achievement growth and graduate students ready for success in college.

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