The school year is coming to end now, and you probably starting to look at financial aid packages. This makes me think back to when I was sitting in your spot looking at the schools I had been accepted to. At YES Prep, the charter school I attended, seniors get to announce the college they have chosen to attend during a ceremony called Senior Signing Day.

At the Senior Signing Day ceremony, students and families from all YES Prep gather in an arena to hear seniors declare the college they will be matriculating in. This ceremony is not like a graduation if that’s what you’re thinking. Through my time in YES Prep, I attended a total of six Senior Signing Days before it was time for me to declare the college I was going to attend. My Senior Signing Day was an unforgettable experience. This week I had the opportunity to visit my YES Prep family during a Senior Signing Day event. Each and every one of the students there had battled through adversity and persisted through the obstacles of getting into a 4-year college. Thanks to the student’s hard work, and the commitment of the teachers, these students had the opportunity to go to college. The majority of the YES Prep students were the first generation in their families going to college.

So as you make your decision to attend a college, make sure you celebrate this great achievement. YOU DID IT! You still have more a head on you, but you have done an amazing job at getting this far. Continue to persist through all obstacles and you will do just fine. Congratulations to all seniors reading this post for getting into college.