As the class of 2019 filled KIPP DC College Preparatory’s gymnasium for our annual College and Career Signing Day, they were met with announcements of their future alma maters, jubilant cheers, and rapturous applause from the students, staff, and families members in attendance. The reception most deserving of a class who have submitted more than 1,400 applications, garnered more than 700 acceptances, and earned more than six million dollars in scholarships.
“College and Career Signing Day is a day where we highlight the success of our students in committing to their post-secondary plans, whether that’s attending college in the fall, taking up a trade or apprenticeship, or going into the workforce. It’s just a day to celebrate the work they’ve done and how proud we are of them,” remarked Jackie Pendergrass, director of college counseling and master of ceremonies for the event.
Someone intimately familiar with the shoes the class of 2019 is in right now is Nathan Woods, community relations manager and KIPP DC alumnus, who was a guest speaker during the ceremony. Mr. Woods, as he’s known by much of the class of 2019 having taught many of them as a history teacher, expressed not only his pride in what the students have achieved but also the optimism he has for what lies ahead of them in the future.
“The purpose of today is to revel in the accomplishments of the class of 2019, and it signifies the hard work it took to get to this point in your journey. But your journey is just beginning, and your climb continues. I’m deeply humbled to stand in front of the next generation of leaders, doctors, engineers, teachers, and social change agents.”
Ariana is among the next generation of leaders Nathan alluded to and will be attending Towson University in the fall and wants to double major in journalism and criminal justice. “This is a very exciting time having just finished prom and having a day like today,” she said. It’s fun to start to get into adulthood and think about what I want to do in life and what type of person I want to be. It feels like I’m transforming.”
Jalonte was also among the seniors honored on Tuesday and is enrolling in Lycoming College this fall to study computer science on a full ride said College and Career Signing Day underscored just how far he’s come since walking through the doors of KIPP DC College Preparatory as a freshman.
“I can remember being at KEY Academy or being in ninth grade like it was yesterday. Just thinking back to all the fun I had, the people I met, and it’s a great thing we get to celebrate College and Career Signing Day with each other.”
Among the supporters inside the gymnasium, there were none more proud of the class of 2019 than their parents and families members. Vernelle was in attendance to support her son Jaylin, who is attending North Carolina Wesleyan in the fall to study exercise science and expressed how much it means to see him taking the next step in a lifelong journey. “I’m just so proud. This is a path he set for himself at a very young age, and he’s accomplished it, so it’s a very proud moment for all of us. The sky is the limit for him.”