On Saturday, The Wonderful Co. Co-Owners Lynda and Stewart Resnick led a celebration of the 90-strong inaugural graduating class of the Wonderful Agriculture Career Prep program (Ag Prep) at a special event held at Wonderful College Prep Academy in Delano, California. More than 300 family, friends and community members gathered to honor students graduating with an associate of science degree along with their high school diploma.
Nearly all the students are going on to four-year universities. One third of those are continuing their studies in ag business or plant science, which means they’ll enter college as juniors. Most are the first in their families to go to college.
“Our Ag Prep graduates are the pioneers of a new way to look at high school and college education,” said Lynda Resnick, vice chair of The Wonderful Co. “These kids are living, breathing inspirations of what’s possible when smart kids are given a fair and equal opportunity.”
More than 1,000 students are enrolled in the Ag Prep program at seven high schools. In addition to their core curriculum, these high schoolers take courses conducted by college professors and earn college credit, so they’re going to high school and college simultaneously. At the same time, they’re immersed in real-world work experiences at The Wonderful Co. and other area ag businesses. Each student completes an internship, with exposure to career opportunities related to agricultural technology, plant science, business management, and other aspects of the industry.
“Ag Prep is transforming secondary education in the Central Valley into a personally relevant, wholly engaging experience for all levels of students—exposing them to previously unimagined college and career opportunities,” says The Wonderful Co.
The Wonderful Co., parent company of Pom Wonderful, Wonderful Pistachios & Wonderful Almonds, and Wonderful Halos, says it is committed to investing in and collaborating with the communities where its employees live and work.
“Without education and the promise of economic opportunity, those communities cannot sustain themselves,” the company says. “That’s why The Wonderful Company created Wonderful Education, with a mission to enable a lifetime of career opportunities by significantly increasing the number of college graduates in California’s Central Valley.”
Funded by Lynda and Stewart Resnick Wonderful Education serves 55,000 students and partners with educational leaders, colleges and teachers across 24 school districts to improve educational opportunities and enhance the quality of life for children throughout the Central Valley. Initiatives include agricultural career training, college scholarships, school grants, summer camps, arts education, early childhood programs and preschools, teacher development and parent engagement programs.