The Wonderful Company is committed to significantly increasing the number of college degrees earned by youth in the communities where our employees live and work in California’s Central Valley. We believe in a holistic approach to learning, starting with preschool and continuing all the way through college. To date, we’ve reached more than 55,000 Central Valley students across 138 public schools. We’ve also awarded more than 1,500 college scholarships and incentives, as well as 1,300 teacher grants.
The journey to college begins in preschool. The early years of a child’s education are critical in laying a lifelong foundation for future success. Wonderful Education offers two best-in-class, nationally accredited preschools in Avenal and Lost Hills. Our year-round preschools, open 12 hours a day, offer peace of mind to our employees, who know their children are thriving in a safe, nurturing play-based environment for children ages 3 to 5.
We’re committed to help the region’s young people reach for life-changing opportunities, because every student deserves a chance to shine. With talented, loving teachers, hands-on learning and high-tech classrooms, our two Wonderful College Prep Academies provide first-class education in previously underserved communities. All tuition-free.
Our longer school day and extended school year give our students an edge. Throughout their time with us, children are immersed in rigorous college prep-focused learning, integrating Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), agriculture and the arts. Talented teachers from the community, and across the country, skillfully optimize the individual growth of every child.
Our beautiful, state-of-the-art $100 million campus in Delano—ranked one of the highest-performing high schools in Kern County—will soon serve 2,000 kindergartners through 12th graders from all over the area. Nearly 100% of our 2018 graduating class went to college—an incredible 88% headed to a four-year university. Perhaps the most remarkable statistic is that 86% of the 2018 graduating class were the first in their families to attend college.
Our newer campus in Lost Hills serves children from kindergarten through 6th grade. In 2019, that will expand to 8th grade and by 2023 the campus will serve students all the way through 12th grade.
In California’s Central Valley, agriculture is king. The farm industry is becoming increasingly high tech, creating thousands of high-skilled, STEM-based jobs. As the need for skilled workers increases, companies are desperate to fill those vacancies with qualified college graduates. That’s why we created our signature high school program, Wonderful Agriculture Career Prep (Ag Prep).
Ag Prep encompasses seven public high schools, six feeder middle schools and three community colleges. Armed with 60 units of college credit along with 200+ hours of real-world work experience from paid internships, students earn an associate of science degree while in high school—again, all tuition-free. Students then enter our skilled workforce with a guaranteed high-paying job (starting at $35,000 annually), or enroll at a four-year college as a junior, finishing in half the time and at half the cost.
California’s Central Valley has long been one of the poorest and most overlooked parts of the state. It’s a region that’s lagged far behind in educational attainment for too long. Just 16% of Kern County residents possess a bachelor’s degree. Most don’t even believe college is an option. We’re determined to change that for a new generation of students.
Our Wonderful College Scholarship program helps students and parents re-think what’s possible and alleviate the financial and emotional burdens associated with pursuing higher education. Our employees’ children are eligible for five-year renewable college scholarships of up to $30,000. Graduates of the Ag Prep program and the Wonderful College Prep Academy in Delano may also apply for generous, renewable scholarships. In 2018 we awarded 225 scholarships—the most in our history.
We don’t just offer financial support. We assign case managers to provide frequent, consistent one-on-one guidance to support our employees’ college-bound children. Throughout high school, full-time Prep Specialists work with students to the fill in the experience, knowledge and motivational gaps that family, school and community often can’t, ensuring students are on the right path and making the right choices. Once they get to college, scholars receive ongoing support from our Success Specialists to ensure they earn their degree. This hands-on, individualized approach has resulted in a 75% college graduation rate. No other employer or education program offers a scholarship program this comprehensive or with these incredible results.