For years, high school sports teams have been celebrated with pep rallies where bands play and each athlete runs into the gymnasium to fanfare and applause. Those who have achieved in academics often take a back seat with little recognition. Well, no more at many high schools.
Across the country, more and more high schools are celebrating College Signing (or sometimes Decision) Day. At several of the high schools served by MassEdCO programs, our advisors are at the forefront of organizing the events that showcase the academic achievements of students in our programs and, indeed, all seniors who have won acceptances and signed up to go to college or been accepted for the military. This year, most high schools celebrated on April 28.
At Burncoat High in Worcester, the event was celebrated for the second year and was inspired by Michelle Obama's Reach Higher initiative. It featured a rally attended by all grades with performances by Burncoat's select chorus, pep band, dance team and grade 10 theater students. City Manager Ed Augustus was the keynote speaker and Principal William Foley served as emcee. Approximately 150 seniors going on to 33 different higher education institutions or enlisting in the military were lauded. They proudly held signs and wore apparel indicating where they would be heading in the fall. Prior to the rally, they enjoyed an outdoor courtyard breakfast, courtesy of MassEdCO. The event was coordinated by Marilyn Flores, education advisor with MassEdCO's Educational Talent Search (ETS) program, and Michaela Moylan, focused instructional coach at Burncoat.
South High Community School in Worcester celebrated College Decision Day for the first time. Performances by the band, cheerleaders and other students kicked off the festivities. Seniors wearing college gear and/or carrying signs of where they will be in the fall helped many find others who will be fellow first-year students at their institution. The assembly heard from Kevin Adusei, who is one of South High's three seniors accepted this spring to Harvard University. Kevin challenged the students to make good choices as they shaped their futures. Principal Diane Lynch said where you get your degree is less important than what you do with it. Dr. Persons, an assistant principal, highlighted the many acceptance to Ivy League schools and the prestigious national scholarship winners in South High's Class of 2017. One of the event's organizers, Kathia Gonzalez, a MassEdCO ETS advisor, encouraged seniors to invest in their success by asking for help when they need it. Each college-bound student and scholarship winner was recognized. A photo booth was available for senior photos.
At New Bedford High School, around 400 students enjoyed cake and made posters showing the colleges they committed to attending in the fall. The process created a positive buzz among seniors, which transferred to underclassmen as well. The celebration took place during the three lunch shifts, allowing a maximum number of students to enjoy the interactive and fun process. This year, NBHS seniors are heading to approximately 100 2-year and 4-year colleges, private and public, in and out of state. In addition to distinguished acceptances at prominent schools like Harvard, Boston University, Boston College, Brandeis, Babson, Emmanuel, Emerson, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Wentworth Institute of Technology, Stonehill, Bryant, Nichols, Assumption, Salve Regina, the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and Suffolk, there was also many commitments made to local colleges -Bristol Community College, the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, and Bridgewater State University. At the end of the day, the students proudly hung their posters on the "Wall of Acceptance" for all to see.
MassEdCO is very proud of seniors in its programs statewide and congratulate them for their hard work and wish them the best as they prepare to embark on their postsecondary educational journey!