May 1, 2015--National College Signing Day, the deadline for high school seniors to submit their intent to register to college--was a big day for students across the nation.
By Hanna Park
At the Fulfillment Fund, we had much to celebrate last week. We joined First Lady Michelle Obama and the ‘Reach Higher’ campaign by hosting "Decision Week"-a weeklong celebration in which Fulfillment Fund college counselors like myself threw parties for seniors to commemorate their decision of what college or university they will attend this fall.
Each Fulfillment Fund partner school began their celebration according to their school culture, in their own special way. There was one thing, however, that all of the unique celebrations had in common-they were fueled by the excitement that comes from knowing that students were college-bound.
Decision Week began at Alliance Gertz-Ressler High School. Hundreds of seniors and parents walked into the school’s gymnasium, hoping to find seating at one of the tables set up for the event. You could hear the sound of students’ high heels and dress shoes as they scurried to find their family members, and the gym filled to capacity.
Seniors gathered alongside classmates, family and their school community to announce what college they plan to attend this fall. Families enjoyed lunch together and took pictures.
Arelid and his mother were among the families that came to celebrate that afternoon. Arelid had submitted his intent to register to California State University, Northridge and couldn’t be happier. He and his mother were beaming as they took pictures holding CSUN’s pennant. “I’m feeling so many emotions today,” his mother said. “I am so excited that he is going off to college.”
The same set of emotions was present at Alexander Hamilton High School. Right as lunch started, students entered into the cafeteria, where they grabbed slices of pizza and headed towards the center of the room to take pictures with friends and Fulfillment Fund staff members.
Etienne was one of the first seniors to take his picture. Holding a Humboldt State University college pennant, he happily stuck out his tongue as shutters clicked. “I applied to eight schools, but didn’t get into any of them except my dream school. I am relieved knowing that I got in where I really wanted to be.”
Aliyah and Shannell, headed to California State University Bakersfield and University of California, Riverside, respectively, both said they were excited and ready. What was particularly important for Shannell was knowing, “my parents are proud of me.”
For senior, Maria, the party was perfect timing. “I just submitted my intent to register to UC Santa Cruz," she said. "The beginning process was so scary. But once I clicked it, I was so relieved. I’m going to college!”
Going to college will be a big and meaningful accomplishment for our students. Many of them will be the first in the family, or part of the first generation within their family to go to college. For them, the pursuit of higher education was not a natural progression after high school. But with the right assistance, support and tools provided by advisors, counselors and mentors at the Fulfillment Fund, our students have the opportunity to reach a higher level of success.
Decision Week was an opportunity to allow our organization and family alike to applaud our seniors for all their hard work and share where they will be this fall.