Nicholas Academic Centers

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Nicholas Academic Centers
Founded May 2009
Founder Judge Jack Mandel, Orange County Superior Court, Ret., Henry T. Nicholas, III, Co-Founder and former Co-Chairman, President and CEO, Broadcom Corp.
Type 501(c)(3) Public Charity
Focus NAC's I and II were established to provide free after-school tutoring, counseling and cultural enrichment.
Location
  • (NAC I) I412 W. 4th St. - First Floor Santa Ana, CA 92701, (NAC II) 1801 S. Greenville St. Santa Ana, CA 92704
Area served
Santa Ana, California
Owner Henry T. Nicholas, III
Key people
Co-Founder Jack Mandel, Co-Founder Henry T Nicholas, III.
Mission "Preparing high school students to attend top colleges and universities through hands-on academic tutoring and mentoring, family and community support, and exposure to Arts and Culture.
Website Nicholas Academic Centers Facebook Page

The Nicholas Academic Centers provide after‐school tutoring and mentoring for high school students in the Santa Ana Unified School District.[1] The two Centers—NAC I in downtown Santa Ana (412 W. 4th Street),[2] and NAC II on the campus of Valley High School (1801 S. Greenville Street)[3]—serve hundreds of students on a daily basis throughout the school year and summer. In the Santa Ana Unified School District, about 55 percent of students are English‐language learners and 75 percent come from low‐income families.[4] The Centers were established by retired Superior Court Judge Jack Mandel and Dr. Henry T. Nicholas, co-founder and former Co-Chairman, President and CEO of Broadcom Corporation. NAC I opened in January 2008 and NAC II opened the following year.[5] The Centers are supported by grants from the Henry T. Nicholas, III Foundation.[6] Since opening, the Centers have achieved dramatic results, with more than 100 graduating seniors going on to college and receiving nearly $2 million in scholarships and financial aid. NAC students now attend some of the nation’s best four-year colleges and universities, including Georgetown, Smith, Haverford, UC Berkeley, UCLA, and UCI.[7]

History[edit]

Judge Mandel greets a surprise visitor at the NAC graduation celebration, Raul Tapia, who was the first student Judge Mandel mentored. Tapia graduated from Cal State Fullerton and went on to earn law and masters degrees from Harvard, and serve in the White House under President Jimmy Carter. Tapia challenged students to rely on a strong work ethic to make up for disadvantages they might face in college and in their careers.
Judge Mandel greets a surprise visitor at the NAC graduation celebration, Raul Tapia, who was the first student Judge Mandel mentored. Tapia graduated from Cal State Fullerton and went on to earn law and masters degrees from Harvard, and serve in the White House under President Jimmy Carter. Tapia challenged students to rely on a strong work ethic to make up for disadvantages they might face in college and in their careers.

In the early 1990s, Judge Mandel began to tutor and mentor students in Santa Ana when he realized the school district couldn't afford to hire personnel to keep the library at Santa Ana High School open at the end of the school day. After he left the Courthouse, Judge Mandel would go to the library and supervise any students who wanted to stay after school and to study.[8]

Soon Judge Mandel was working with students to improve their academic performance, and then with teachers, guidance counselors and college admissions officers to help students gain entrance to top four-year colleges and universities. Eventually, however, a lack of resources forced Judge Mandel to discontinue the program.

In late 2007, Judge Mandel was introduced to Dr. Nicholas, who has a long history of supporting education initiatives including programs at the University of California, Irvine, UCLA, and Gov. Jerry Brown’s Oakland Military Academy. Dr. Nicholas has a strong personal interest in education, having overcome a learning disability to earn a PhD from UCLA in electrical engineering and build one of the world’s most successful semiconductor companies. His Henry T. Nicholas, III Foundation provides financial support to the Nicholas Academic Centers, along with a wide range of other projects in education, medical research, youth sports, victims’ right and national defense.[9]

Programs and Leadership[edit]

Dr. Nicholas and Judge Mandel join NAC I and II students at the second annual Thanksgiving celebration.
Dr. Henry T. Nicholas and Judge Mandel join NAC I and II students at the second annual Thanksgiving celebration.
NAC Co-founder/Executive Director, Judge Jack Mandel, Co-Founder Dr Henry T. Nicholas, and Assistant Director Corina Espinoza, 2010 Thanksgiving Celebration at the Nicholas Academic Centers.
NAC Co-founder/Executive Director, Judge Jack Mandel, Co-Founder Dr. Henry T. Nicholas, and Assistant Director Corina Espinoza, 2010 Thanksgiving Celebration at the Nicholas Academic Centers.

NAC I opened in January 2008 and NAC II opened the following year.[10] In addition to tutoring in English, math, science and other subjects, the Centers work closely with students and their families to prepare for, and apply to, top four-year colleges and universities. Students visit campuses around the country and college representatives regularly visit the Centers. Students also take SAT prep courses, attend cultural events and explore extracurricular interests such as martial arts and guitar lessons. In addition, the NAC’s professional staff conducts outreach programs with parents to help them understand the importance of a college education and to support their children’s academic efforts.

Now retired from the bench, Judge Mandel has led the Centers as Executive Director since their opening and presided over their growth. In January 2011, he handed over leadership of the Centers to Dr. Corina A. Espinoza, a higher education expert who began working at the Centers in May 2010. Dr. Espinoza was credited with implementing parent involvement programs and forging partnerships between the Academic Centers and local colleges, such as Chapman University and the University of California, Irvine.[11]

Dr. Espinoza received her BA in Political Science from UC Irvine and her Doctorate in Education in 2009 from the Rossier School of Education at the University of Southern California, where her work explored education partnerships among other topics. Her experience as chief administrator for the Los Angeles campus of Alliant International University and as Assistant Dean of Students at UC Irvine, as well as Director of the Kids2College Program at the Tomas Rivera Policy Institute at USC was a vital contribution to the future growth of the Nicholas Academic Centers.

Nicholas Academic Centers directors, who oversee academic and social services operations, include three former Santa Ana High School students, Rosa Diaz, Rocio Chavez-Bonilla and Hugo Gutierrez who were mentored by Mandel in the 1990s.[12]

Partners[edit]

The NACs have received widespread community support and forged partnerships with several leading institutions:

The Henry T. Nicholas, III Foundation and Nicholas Education Foundation[edit]

The Henry T. Nicholas, III Foundation, through its Nicholas Education Foundation, is the sole financial supporter of the Nicholas Academic Centers, and has committed to investing $10 million in the programs. Since NAC I opened in January 2008, the Henry T. Nicholas, III Foundation has provided over $4 million in support for the Centers. The Nicholas Education Foundation’s Board of Directors directly oversees management and operations of the Centers.

City of Santa Ana and Santa Ana Unified School District[edit]

Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido presents Dr. Henry T. Nicholas with an award at the dedication ceremony of the first Nicholas Academic Center.
Mayor Pulido presents Dr. Henry T. Nicholas with an award at the dedication ceremony of the first Nicholas Academic Center.

The City of Santa Ana and the Santa Ana Unified School District are strong supporters of the Centers’ students, staff and programs.[13] NAC staff work collaboratively with teachers and administrators at SAUSD schools to deliver the after-school tutoring and mentoring services and provide college counseling. The home of NAC II is a building on the campus of Valley High School that was renovated by the Centers and includes a teachers’ lounge for use by the Valley High faculty. The Valley High School administration and teachers support NAC II by sharing the library, computer labs, and other facilities.

UC Irvine[edit]

The University of California, Irvine Department of Education is partnering with the Nicholas Academic Centers on a research project to assess the performance and growth potential of the after-school tutoring and mentoring program for high school students in Santa Ana. The UCI researchers will help establish benchmarks for performance and metrics for tracking students after they leave the program, and recommend strategies to expand the reach and scope of the Centers. Dr. Deborah Lowe Vandell, chair of the UCI Education Department, is overseeing the project, which is headed by UCI assistant professor of education, Dr. Estela Zarate.[14]

UC Irvine faculty and staff also participate in the NAC’s Summer Enrichment Program by sponsoring “Day at the Bay” educational activities, which include a tutorial with UCI staff at the Back Bay Science Center in Newport Beach and a tour of the university campus led by senior university administrators. The session is designed to expose NAC students to a college learning environment and give them the opportunity to interact with UCI students and faculty, and experience campus life.[15]

Chapman University[edit]

Judge Jack Mandel, Dr. Henry T. Nicholas, Santa Ana Unified District Superintendent Jane Russo and Valley High Principal Fred Gomeztrejo greet one another at the dedication ceremony for the Nicholas Academic Centers II facility.
Judge Jack Mandel, Dr. Henry T. Nicholas, Santa Ana Unified District Superintendent Jane Russo and Valley High Principal Fred Gomeztrejo greet one another at the dedication ceremony for the Nicholas Academic Centers II facility.
Judge-jack-mandel vernon-l-smith- Jeff-Tollaksen-nicholas-academic-centers chapman-university
Economics Nobel Laureate Dr. Vernon L. Smith of Chapman University is joined by Chapman Prof. Jeff Tollaksen (l) and Judge Jack Mandel (r) during a break in Smith's lecture on Experimental Economics at the Nicholas Academic Centers I Annex on Jan. 29th,2011

Chapman University is partnering with the Nicholas Academic Centers to host a “Visiting Scholar Series” designed to introduce NAC students to college-level learning and academic excellence offered by highly respected local universities. In 2010, four monthly sessions were held at the NAC facilities in downtown Santa Ana, in which students heard lectures on topics ranging from the origins of mathematics and a survey of indigenous cultures, to immigration issues and the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. In 2011, the Scholar Series was launched by a lecture by Nobel Prize winner Vernon L. Smith, founder of experimental economics, and his research team.[16] The program will run through the entire year.[17]

Orange County Performing Arts Center[edit]

The NACs have partnered with the Orange County Performing Arts Center to establish a Summer Enrichment Program in which students spend part of the summer immersed in the performing arts. Twice-weekly classes in storytelling, contemporary and folk dance, choreography and creative expression are conducted by teaching artists from the Performing Arts Center’s Arts Teach program. Also included are field trips to attend live performances at the Performing Arts Center that include educational sessions with the casts. The program is free to the students. For many of them, these are their first experiences with live theatrical performances.[18]

The Ocean Institute[edit]

The NACs partner with the Ocean Institute in Dana Point to conduct field trip for NAC students in which they engage in hands-on learning experiences in marine science and are exposed to a diverse range of marine life.[19]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.ocregister.com/articles/students-191361-mandel-santa.html?pic=4
  2. ^ https://maps.google.com/maps/place?cid=13585344324572775480&q=nicholas+academic+center&hl=en&sll=33.745573,-117.867834&sspn=0.211253,0.44323&ie=UTF8&ll=33.851029,-118.089638&spn=0,0&z=12
  3. ^ https://maps.google.com/maps/place?cid=13585344324572775480&q=nicholas+academic+center+II&hl=en&gl=us&sll=33.747773,-117.871357&sspn=0.013203,0.027702&ie=UTF8&ll=33.75437,-117.885211&spn=0,0&z=16
  4. ^ http://www.ocregister.com/articles/students-191361-mandel-santa.html
  5. ^ http://www.ocregister.com/articles/center-196362-nicholas-santa.html
  6. ^ http://www.htnfoundation.org/
  7. ^ http://wiki.ocregister.com/Communities/Irvine/People/Henry_T._Nicholas_III
  8. ^ http://www.ocregister.com/articles/students-191361-mandel-santa.html?pic=4
  9. ^ http://www.htnfoundation.org/about-dr-nicholas
  10. ^ http://www.ocregister.com/articles/center-196362-nicholas-santa.html
  11. ^ http://www.ocregister.com/articles/mandel-277061-center-nicholas.html
  12. ^ http://www.ocregister.com/articles/students-191361-mandel-santa.html?pic=4
  13. ^ http://www.ocregister.com/articles/students-191361-mandel-santa.html
  14. ^ http://www.htnfoundation.org/press-releases/2010/6/7/uc-irvine-nicholas-academic-centers-announce-research-partne.html
  15. ^ http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20100826005499/en/Nicholas-Academic-Centers-Build-Ties-Local-Universities
  16. ^ "Nobel Laureate Vernon L. Smith of Chapman University to Speak at Nicholas Academic Centers' "Visiting Scholar Series" The World-Renowned Economist and His Colleague Bart Wilson, Ph.D., Will Address Santa Ana High School Students in the Program's First 2011 Lecture". 
  17. ^ "Nicholas Academic Centers Partner with Chapman University to Host "Visiting Scholar Series"". Business Wire. 2010. 
  18. ^ "Nicholas Academic Centers Join with Orange County Performing Arts Center On Unique Summer Cultural Program". Business Wire. 2009. 
  19. ^ "Nicholas Academic Centers Join with Orange County Performing Arts Center On Unique Summer Cultural Program". Business Wire. 2009. 

External links[edit]