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“Everything I learned at YPIE, I’ll bring to college and through my life. With the help of everyone at YPIE, we were able to reach the highest we possibly could.”

YPIE Scholar, 2016-2020

Saunders Technical and Trades High School (Magnet: HVAC)

YPIE Ambassador

Incoming College Freshman, SUNY Albany; Major: Computer Science

How did you first get involved with YPIE?

Joshua’s family immigrated from Peru with his three older siblings. He was the only one in his family to be born in the United States. Joshua attended the same elementary and middle school, then chose Saunders Trades & Technical High School as his first choice high school because of his interest in technology and engineering.

When he heard about YPIE over the announcements in school, he knew this sounded like something that he should become part of. “I heard that this was about college prep and help with the Regents. This was a new environment for me and I knew I needed to start getting prepared for college now.”

Joshua started by attending the YPIE College Zone after school two times each week. He especially remembers a few of the YPIE staff members and their help with the Regents in Algebra, Geometry, and Earth Science. “I didn’t think I would do as well as I did, but they really helped me. Without YPIE, I would have struggled a bit. It helped me to grow and do better in school.”

Joshua also enjoyed being with his friends at the YPIE College Zone. “When I joined YPIE, I saw lots of my friends from middle school. I liked being part of a high profile program that was well known for college prep and now the College Zone too.”

What are some of your other interests during high school?

Joshua was involved in the Sea Cadets during high school, which gave him exposure to the rigor of a military training program and our country’s rich naval history. “A lot of people can’t tell the difference between Sea Cadets or actually military personnel. This is why our uniform has to be perfect because we are representing the Navy.”

He has also always had an interest in technology and plans to pursue a software development role in the future. During high school, he ordered several different computer parts, CPU, motherboard, RAM, and built a computer all by himself. “I always loved video games and wanted to know how and why it all works.”

How did YPIE help with the college process?

Joshua started planning for the college process at the start of his Junior year. He started his prep for the SAT, meeting in different groups at the College Zone, focused on reading comprehension and math.

“I thought the PSAT would be good practice, but the SAT was harder. It felt more complex. Other students were paying for this type of help and I was so grateful to be getting this help through YPIE. I really wanted to take it seriously and learn as much as I can. My score improved in each test. It was really helpful and worth it.”

Joshua was also working on his college essay, visiting colleges, and thinking about the type of college that he would like to attend. After visiting, he knew that he preferred a school that wasn’t too far away and where he could also appreciate the outdoors.

“During Junior year, YPIE helped prepare me for what I would need to do as a Senior. It was really helpful to visit schools. I didn’t know what a campus really looked like and was curious to see what campus life is like.”

As a Senior, Joshua and his mother attended the YPIE FAFSA night. “My mom doesn’t speak English well. It definitely would have been stressful, but the staff told us everything so I could translate it to my mom. My mom was happy that I was involved in a college-prep program and saw that I was also having fun.”

What will you bring to college from your experiences with YPIE?

“Everything I learned at YPIE, I’ll bring to college and through my life. With the help of everyone at YPIE, we were able to reach the highest we possibly could.”

Beyond academics, Joshua credits YPIE as helping him to be more organized and work well as a part of a team.

“At YPIE, there were lots of icebreakers to have us get to know each other. Everything revolved around the team. I also learned that if you have an opportunity, you should take it. This was an opportunity that I took and I am so grateful I did.”

What will you always remember about YPIE?

Joshua shares many favorite experiences through the years, including Pie Day, spending time outdoors with his friends, even in the rain.

“It made me feel wonderful, that I was part of a community and they helped a lot. I am thankful for everything they taught us. They are always making sure we are staying focused and on track when it comes to what we need for college.”

“YPIE helped me to deepen my friendships. At YPIE, we are part of a team. We shared moments that turned into delightful memories. We all care about each other and it was an amazing time we had these four years.”

Posted August 2020

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