ST. PAUL — Nearly 1,200 low-income students celebrated their achievements at the annual College Possible Twin Cities Year-End Graduation Celebration May 19 at Ted Mann Hall on the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities campus.
Seniors at the ceremony successfully completed College Possible’s free two-year college access program. They worked with an AmeriCorps coach to complete 320 hours of intensive curriculum over the course of two years ranging from ACT practice tests to campus visits, with the final goal of earning admission to college, securing financial aid and choosing a school that’s a good fit.
“I absolutely love my coach,” said College Possible and Patrick Henry High School senior Nou Khang. “She’s so willing to help me and I really love her for helping me throughout this whole college process.”
Of the 668 Twin Cities seniors in the program, 97 percent have already earned admission to at least one college. Many College Possible students will be the first in their families to attend college, making this celebration especially joyous.
“Graduation gives us a chance to applaud our students for the truly remarkable accomplishments they have achieved and the hard work they have invested in their education,” said Sara Dziuk, College Possible Twin Cities Executive Director. “It is also an opportunity to thank our donors, supporters, school partners and AmeriCorps coaches for the tireless contributions they have made to our students. Together, we are helping our students make their dreams of college come true.”
Students reflected on their hard work, their strong bond with coaches and the rewards that came after months of preparing for the ACT exam and completing college applications. Low-income students across the country earn a college degree at one tenth the rate of their wealthier peers. The energy and excitement on Saturday showed that College Possible students are eager to change that.
“We can’t change the cards we’re dealt with, but we can change the way the game is played. Education is a big part of that,” said keynote speaker and KARE11 reporter Boua Xiong. “College doesn’t guarantee you a successful life. But it’s a powerful tool to help you achieve your goals. I believe in it. You would not be here if you didn’t believe the same thing.”
In addition to celebrating seniors’ plans, the day featured student skits and live performances, many of them gestures of appreciation for the support they have received and glimpses of the hope seniors have about their college journey ahead. The Year-End Graduation Celebration was also a time to welcome newly-admitted sophomores and accomplishments of the 785 juniors.
This year’s College Possible Year-End Graduation Celebration was made possible by the presenting sponsor, Traveler’s, and the host sponsor, the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities.
Formerly Admission Possible, College Possible Twin Cities is making college admission and success possible for low-income students through an intensive curriculum of coaching and support. Launched in 2000, College Possible Twin Cities serves 7,600 low-income high school and college age students through its college access and completion programs. Nationwide, College Possible’s innovative and award-winning model serves 8,700 Minnesota, Nebraska and Wisconsin students in 2011-12 with plans to reach 20,000 students annually in 10 locations across the country as early as 2015. According to a recent Harvard study, the program doubles a student’s chances of enrolling in college. More information at www.CollegePossible.org.