MADERA, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – North Valley students who have struggled in school are getting a second chance at success with a message straight from the president of Fresno State.

President Saul Jimenez-Sandoval is the first-ever university president to speak at Ripperdan Community Day School; a continuation school in Madera Unified.

Students say it means a lot to see others who believe in their futures.

“I always heard this school was for the bad kids or whatever for kids that don’t really listen and stuff like that so having people come here it makes me feel… like we have a chance to be someone better in life,” said Ripperdan Day School Student Arron Covarrubias.

“Each and every day someone told me ‘you do not belong here’… so I tell you to follow that passion,” said President Jimenez-Sandoval.

Ripperdan Day School is a second chance for students who have been kicked out of their previous school.

“We have students that were expelled from their home schools, their comprehensives due to fighting, drugs, you name it. They were expelled from their school and their coming here this is their last stop,” said Lucia Santana, a counselor at Ripperdan Day School.

Santana is the one who asked president Jimenez-Sandoval to come to speak to her students because of his struggles growing up.

“When I heard president Jimenez speak I knew that he’s an immigrant that came from Mexico, he was an el student, he worked in the field with his parents, he struggled like my students and yet he’s the president at Fresno State,” said Santana.

President Jimenez-Sandoval says his goal is to show students their goals are obtainable.

“I intentionally began my speech by saying I am you and you are me, I am you and you are me, and the fact that a student heard my message, that makes my day,” said President Jimenez-Sandoval.

President Jimenez-Sandoval says he plans to speak at the day school every year.