Sophomore Millie Rafael pays it forward as high school mentor

The Concordia Courier

Concordia Irvine

By Giselle Rafael | 1/20/2023

The Courier sat down recently with Concordia sophomore Millie Rafael to learn about the Liberal Studies major’s experience as a high school mentor at the Nicholas Academic Center in Santa Ana. Rafael was previously a participant in the academic center program herself as a high school student and is repaying the benefits she received by helping others. 

Q: What is the Nicholas Academic Center? 

A: The Nicholas Academic Center (NAC) is a nonprofit institution that assists our pre-high school and high school students. Where we can assist them with our amazing tutoring team, which has many tutors for each subject the student may be struggling with. We assist our high school senior students with their college applications and give them useful information and resources. 

Q: What do you hope to accomplish this year at the Nicholas Academic Center as a College Access Mentor? 

A: We encourage all incoming high school senior students to become active at their high school. Although each high school has its own special clubs and afterschool programs, our nonprofit is able to provide many opportunities for any high school student who has the potential to integrate into their own college life, regardless of whether they choose to major in biology, history, law, psychology or medicine. To assist as many students as possible in attending their dream school without having to worry about financial difficulties.

Q: How was your time working with high school seniors during their process of college application. What did you most enjoy? 

A: Working with high school seniors is a rollercoaster ride filled with challenges and mixed feelings. Most of my students have struggled mentally, physically and psychologically. However, college acceptances occur in the spring semester, between February and March. This is where I enjoy it the most because all of their hard work has paid off. They also get to celebrate with their families, as the majority of students are first generation college students. 

Q: Words of advice for new incoming NAC College Access Mentors? 

A: A word of encouragement rather than advice: one day you will tell your story of how you overcame what you are going through now, and it will become part of someone else's survival guide. If you have any questions, please come by the Nicholas Academic Center and I would be pleased to help.

Q: Final thoughts as NAC College Access Mentor and current sophomore at CUI? 

A: Serving on the NAC has been an honor and a wonderful privilege for me, and I know that CUI has changed and affected me in so many ways. I am certain that I will continue to have an influence on current students and future students while pursuing the degree. As a sophomore, I take my time and enjoy every moment I have with the family and friends I've met at Concordia since the memories are all we'll have. 



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