by Dawn Montecalvo
President, Guadalupe Center

For the record, our stats are 29-for-29…100 percent!

Those numbers are extraordinary,inspiring and a true testament to the fact that Guadalupe Center is achieving its mission of breaking the cycle of poverty through education for the children of Immokalee.

This spring, 29 students in the center’s Tutor Corps program will graduate from Immokalee High School, and all 29 will attend college in the fall. Those numbers are typically only achieved by elite private schools, but this is actually the 13th consecutive year that our Tutor Corps program has achieved a 100 percent matriculation rate to college. That’s incredible!

Tutor Corps is a college preparatory program that offers scholarship money, as well as a wage for tutoring elementary school students in Guadalupe Center’s afterschool and summer enrichment programs. Tutor Corps participants must maintain a 3.0 grade point average and each are each matched with an adult mentor for guidance and support.

Our hardworking Guadalupe Center Tutor Corps team members also offer guidance on the college application, scholarship and financial aid processes, as well as SAT and ACT prep.

The Guadalupe Center is providing more than $385,000 in scholarships to this year’s Tutor Corps graduates, who will attend Arcadia, Michigan State and St. John’s universities; the universities of Toledo and Missouri; as well as Wartburg College and other well-respected institutions.

Many seniors have earned additional scholarships, grants and financial aid valued at more than $1.5 million.


Guadalupe Center honored the 29 graduates on Tuesday, April 17 during a celebration dinner at Grey Oaks Country Club in East Naples, where students were accompanied by their parents, mentors and Guadalupe Center supporters.

Some of the graduating students attended programs as preschoolers or for remedial help while in elementary school. Most come from low income households and struggle with economic and environmental barriers beyond their control and had to work twice as hard to achieve their academic and personal goals.

Everyone attending the Tutor Corps banquet was moved as senior Marie Claire Andris shared her inspirational story.

The daughter of Haitian immigrants, Andris’ parents divorced when she was an infant. Andris lived with her father and was unaware that her mother was even alive until age nine. Since then, she has been living in Immokalee with her mother, who never finished high school and has been unable to find a stable career in Haiti or the U.S.

Andris said watching her mother struggle with difficulties in life is what motivates her at Immokalee High, where she is completing advanced college-level courses and is a proud member of the National Beta Club and drum major for the Indians’ marching band.

“One of the goals I have in life is to gain the financial stability that my mother did not have,” said Andris, who will attend the University of South Florida. “I know that with me being accepted to college, I will be able to obtain remarkable opportunities like a successful job and career that suit me.”

To learn more about the Guadalupe Center, please call 239.657.7711 or visit

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