FONTANA, CA – Cheered on by families, teachers and staff, Fontana High School seniors culminated months of hard work and took their next step toward higher education during College Application Day on Nov. 6.

Over the course of 13 hours, 420 FOHI seniors submitted nearly 2,100 applications to four-year colleges and universities, exceeding the school’s goal of 1,900. School and District counselors, faculty and staff were on hand to help students finalize their applications.

“Nearly 90 percent of our students are potentially first-generation college students, so we believe it is important to celebrate this milestone for them,” FOHI Assistant Principal Joe Malatesta said. “This event is part of our school culture now; students know they are working toward this as soon as they step on campus as freshmen. It has really transformed our college-going culture.”

FOHI students and staff tracked the application progress by coloring in a giant paper thermometer hung on the wall. After submitting the applications, students received maroon T-shirts emblazoned with “COLLEGE,” took photos with their families and enjoyed a meal catered by Tuition Bites.

Representatives from Cal State San Bernardino’s Office of Undergraduate Studies and Educational Opportunity Program were also on hand to talk with students and families about next steps as they prepare for the transition to college.

As an Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) National Demonstration School, Fontana High School aims to narrow the achievement gap and ensure more students enroll in four-year colleges and universities. College Application Day embodies FOHI’s efforts to create an AVID Schoolwide campus that benefits all students.

The event began in FOHI’s AVID courses five years ago, when families were invited to watch their children submit college applications in class.

As it expanded, it caught the attention of the American College Application Campaign (ACAC), which has helped popularize college application events as part of its efforts to help seniors navigate the application process.

FOHI has since held presentations for ACAC and AVID on the impact of their College Application Day, helping shape the national focus of such events.


Fontana High School seniors take celebratory photos after submitting college applications during College Application Day on Nov. 6.