Haley is an 11th grade Oakland student looking forward to college.  She has already contributed so much to the Envision community, and we are excited to help her take her education out into the world and go anywhere she wants.
On her teachers: Ms. Natalia, my 9th grade English teacher, was just absolutely amazing. The biggest difference between her and my previous teachers is that she didn’t let me stop.  She kept on pushing me.  Every single day in class I was struggling and I was being challenged and that was a change for me.  She introduced me to new ways of thinking about things.   
I also really like my theatre teacher, Ms. Mac, and I really liked her class, too.   She’s just very open-minded and she pushes everyone.   She doesn’t think there are only certain people who can do the work, she says  “I  know all of you are going to be able to do this.”


JonVinsonEnvision Academy coach Jon Vinson says he has spent two decades doing something he is passionate about: coaching young kids to play basketball.

He insists it is a way to keep them disciplined, engaged and focused. That’s why he pays many of their basketball expenses out of his own pocket and raises money through donations and car washes.  Recently, Amber Lee of KTVU caught up with Vinson after hearing that Uber and the Warriors had teamed up to honor the coach and his players by giving them tickets to the January 16th Warriors game against the Cleveland Cavaliers.. 

Watch the KTVU story here!


Yajaira is a San Francisco student who credits Envision with helping her transform from a shy ninth grader into a confident and independent young woman.


College is extremely important to Yajaira, and she feels “happy and blessed,” thanks to her school and her own hard work, that she is prepared and planning for college success.  She’ll be a “first gen” college student, and she’s ready!


ronthompson_bu_posse2A few weeks ago, we introduced our Envision friends and supporters to Ron Thompson with this postcard.  He is another of our college bound seniors, and this week, he, his family, and the Envision community are celebrating some great news:

Next fall, Ron will be attending Boston University with a four-year, full tuition Posse Foundation scholarship!  This competitive award recognizes Ron’s academic excellence, his strong leadership capacity, and his commitment to hard work.  For Ron, who will be a first generation college graduate, going to college is all about opening new doors for himself and making his parents proud.  Today, he has made all of us very proud to know and celebrate him.

Since 1989, the Posse Foundation has identified, recruited and trained 6,993 public high school students with extraordinary academic and leadership potential to become Posse Scholars; college students in this leadership group graduate at a rate of 90 percent and make a visible difference on their campuses and throughout their professional careers.

Please join us in congratulating Ron for his selection and the Posse Foundation for choosing this bright young scholar!  And a big thank you to all of our friends and supporters: your generosity helps make stories like Ron’s possible.


Ron lives in Antioch with his family, which means he spends 3-4 hours a day getting to and from school. He chooses this commute because of the community Envision offers him: a place to learn and grow, play basketball, and prepare for college, with peers and teachers who have his back through thick and thin.  He’s definitely #collegebound, and we can’t wait to hear where he lands next fall!


The Bob Lenz PDO Award of $1000 cash is given each year to a graduating senior from each Envision school who exemplifies the phrase from Calvin Coolidge “Persistence and Determination alone are Omnipotent.” Erin Brockovich later made these words her motto in her successful campaign to expose toxic water tables in the Central Valley. Bob and his Envision co-founders adopted the motto as well, applying it to the work of Envision schools, to help students develop the persistence and determination to succeed in college. Each of our award-winning students:

  • Has gone through significant hardship and persisted through adversity
  • Has been accepted t0 and plans to attend a 4-year university or college




mahdari (1)Mahdari Rhodes, Impact Academy: Mahdari has been an outspoken leader of Impact’s community both in and out of the classroom. He is a role model for students and adults of what it means to be compassionate, reflective, and courageous. In his graduation Portfolio Defense, Mahdari exhibited his ability to communicate powerfully to a room full of strangers. He demonstrated a strong understanding of content and skills, as well as his own strengths and areas for growth in acquiring both. UC Merced is lucky to have him!

EnvisionGrad 6.8.16_0349 (1)Bladimiro Martin, Envision Academy: When Bladimiro came to the United States four years ago, he could not read, write, or speak English. After two short years, Bladimiro’s English was proficient enough to enroll at Envision Academy, where he began his junior year, and by the end of that year, he gave a presentation on scientific research he had done through a competitive internship program at UC Berkeley. Bladimiro also presented and passed his College Success Portfolio this spring with Distinction. These unbelievable levels of linguistic improvement are some of the many examples of growth that Bladimiro’s unwavering work habits have allowed him to achieve. Bladimiro proves that consistent hard work, unmatched perseverance, and critical questioning can take a student from unthinkably challenging circumstances to a world-class college education at Denison University in Ohio, where he will be attending this fall.

CityArtsTechGrad-2016_0260 (1)Carlean Savea, City Arts & Tech: Carlean is an all-around incredible young woman: resilient, caring, and motivated. Growing up in a low-income neighborhood of San Francisco greatly impacted her desire to pursue higher education. She has witnessed her family struggle and takes it upon herself to help her mom, serving as an additional pillar of support for her seven-year-old sister. Her commitment as a caretaker of her family is evidence of her gracious spirit and willingness to make the best of tough situations. Carlean not only pulls strength from her experiences, but also applies the lessons learned to her daily activities. She communicates powerfully with teachers and peers, thinks critically, and is an integral part of the leadership class on campus. This year, she worked with two of her classmates to bring health education to CAT. This fall Carlean will be attending Virginia State University, where she will be majoring in Computer Engineering, motivated in part by the lack of women present in the tech industry and her determination to succeed and defy social stereotypes.


Read about our 2016 Jackie Robinson Scholarship Award winners here!


The Jackie Robinson Scholarship Award of $1000 cash is given to one student at each Envision school who exemplifies Jackie Robinson’s commitment to service and excellence.  Mr. Robinson did more than break the color barrier in Major League Baseball: he was also the first in his family to graduate from college, served his country in World War II, and worked as a powerful civil rights advocate.  To be awarded this scholarship, students must:

  • Plan on attending a 4-year college or university in the fall after graduation;
  • Be first in their family to graduate from college;
  • Deliver an outstanding graduation Portfolio and Defense;
  • Exemplify a commitment to service & leadership.



ImpactGrad-2016_0097Richard Osei, Impact Academy: While he was a student at Impact, Richard Osei was regarded as one of the most positive people on campus.  Despite growing up in poverty in Ghana, Richard has made the most of every opportunity he’s encountered.  Throughout his time at Impact, Richard could be found supporting teachers as a TA, making his classmates laugh with stories about his weekend, or working hard on his school work to meet the high standards he sets for himself.  Next year, he’ll be making us proud and working on changing the world at UC Santa Cruz!

EnvisionGrad 6.8.16_0596Sameenah Muhammad, Envision Academy: Sameenah has definitely made the most of her 4 years at Envision Academy!  She has shown consistent leadership and determination in the classroom, as an athlete on the volleyball court, and at work. This past May, Sameenah presented and passed her College Success Portfolio with Distinction, a true indicator of her academic skill, reflectiveness and preparedness for college. Her hard work has paid off, and she has made her family, school community, and Oakland community very proud. Sameenah is headed to Mills College this fall!

CityArtsTechGrad-2016_0244bKarina Macias, City Arts & Tech: Karina is a shining example of consistent dedication to service, both at CAT and in her community. She has worked steadfastly to be prepared for college by focusing on her academics over her 4 years in high school. She never lets an opportunity pass her by, and ensures the same for her classmates. She contributed tirelessly to the CAT community, serving as an assistant in the school office and as a student ambassador representing CAT on numerous occasions.  Karina aspires to major in psychology and pursue a career as a social worker or psychologist. She is committed to serving her community, especially by helping other young people overcome the many struggles they face, including depression. She is choosing this path because she believes that helping others leads to positive social change. She will continue her educational journey at UC Davis this fall.


Read about our 2016 Bob Lenz “PDO” Scholarship Award winners here!