Pennies for Heavens – $1 million Donation for OCC

Mary McChesney, retired English and Spanish teacher, has generously given the Orange Coast College a gift that is out of this world: $1 million. Since retiring in 1983, Ms. McChesney has continued to be a contributor to the college, although not to this extent. The $1 million in funds is to help finance the new planetarium that is currently under construction.


McChesney’s donation is to specifically fund a Foucault pendulum, the only one found in the Orange County. A Foucault pendulum is a device that demonstrates the earth’s rotation. Construction on the new planetarium began in 2016. Gold Coast had decided against remodeling and updating the old planetarium because of the vast changes which have occurred in the scientific area. A new building was needed to fuel the new technology.


The $20 million project will house an auditorium and exhibit hall. Not only will the planetarium be state of the art, but it also is increasing the size from the old building, with a capacity of 129. This is a critical improvement as the planetarium is not just for the college students, but for the entire community.


Gold Coast Community College is one of California’s top three community colleges, offering students a 2 year associate’s degree. The ability to transfer credits to a four year college has evolved to be a proven track for students. Gold Coast boasts the highest transfer rate in Orange County. With an enrollment of over 24,000, students find a fine balance between academics, athletics, and social services.



How Success Academy is Improving College Admissions

College admission is a huge concern for the majority of American families. With the ever-increasing rise of college tuition prices combined with an increased competitiveness in American universities, it is no wonder that parents are uneasy about their child’s ability to gain admission into a reputable college or university. On average, college admission preparation and processes consume more than half of a student’s time during their senior year in high school. This large percentage of time is usually required because of a lack of preparation for college admission during a child’s formative years. Thankfully, new charter schools like Success Academy in New York are working to correct this lack of early preparation and ensure that students gain an advantage during college admissions.


Success Academy was founded in the fall of 2006 with the purpose of providing unique and engaging educational experiences for children of all ages. Success Academy is a completely free and public charter school that educates New York students from kindergarten to 12th grade. Both special needs students and students studying English as a second language are welcome to be educated in this charter school program and students are admitted to the program through a random selection held in April. This charter school has become widely known for its ability to prepare students for the college process and curriculum.


Success Academy prepares students for the college admission process primarily through a series of rigorous and college based courses and academic activities. After students successfully complete both the elementary and middle school levels of these prep courses, Success Academy implements a series of courses designed to help students get into (and successfully graduate from) a four-year university program. High School students at Success Academy are encouraged to become involved in STEM programs and honors curriculum activities to foster their love for learning and assist in the transition from high school to college course work. The school’s college access and persistence counselors also work on a daily basis to provide unique opportunities for students to become knowledgable about the college intake process. Following a visit to the school by leaders from well regarded New York universities, students at Success Academy are encouraged to complete college applications.