Fresno State President Joseph Castro and San Joaquin Memorial High School Principal Tom Spencer sign the Memorandum of Understanding during the signing ceremony in the Smittcamp Alumni House on March 5, 2018. The memorandum pledges to offer SJMHS students a direct pathway to Fresno State if students fulfill certain requirements. (Ram Reyes/The Collegian)

Fresno State partners with local high school to aid international students

Fresno State and San Joaquin Memorial High School formed a direct pathway program for international students to enter Fresno State in a ceremony on Monday, held in the Whitton Board Room of the Smittcamp Alumni House.

Fresno State President Dr. Joseph Castro and Provost Lynette Zelezny represented the university, joining San Joaquin Memorial High (SJM) School principal Tom Spencer.

Castro said the partnership will strengthen both SJM and Fresno State as learning institutions. Spencer mentioned that more than 100 students have moved on to Fresno State over the past five years.

Spencer said he would like that number to grow. He also said that SJM’s director of international school, Sung Pyung Chu, helped in creating the partnership between the schools.

“We have many different areas where we’ll like to work together and help our students get a better sense of what it takes to succeed at college,” Spencer said. “We’re looking at using the resources here on campus to help our international students.”

SJM’s board chairman, Jeff Peracchi, said SJM wanted to emulate Fresno State’s STEAM program – high school to university transition – but wanted to do it with international students.

“The goal of this partnership is to have [international students] have a seamless transition into Fresno State,” Peracchi said. “This is a fantastic partnership … we’ll like to keep our kids home at the university level.”

After signing the agreement, Castro and Spencer exchanged gifts and then took a group photo in front of the Smittcamp Alumni House with everyone in attendance.

“I am excited about this partnership because it enables us to work more closely with one of the top high schools in the state of California,” Castro said. “I think it’s a really great match for both institutions and for the students that we serve.”