Celebrating High School Graduation and Embracing New Horizons

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Graduation season is the time when high schools and institutions of higher education celebrate the completion of academic programs and the transition of students to the next phase of their lives. Commencement speeches inspire and advise graduates on future endeavors ranging from entering the workforce, going to trade school, or continuing to college/university.   

During the past weeks, I have attended several high school graduation ceremonies. As I celebrate, I can’t shake off the questions of what is next for several graduates and how GEAR UP and other college access and success programs can continue to support students through summer programming and the first year of their postsecondary choice. Many students may have figured out what is next for them, however, several are still unsure. So, support for high school graduates during this period could be critical for some students to navigate their next steps and successfully make the transition.

Here are a few ways that GEAR UP programs can provide continued support:

  •  Offer summer programming focused on providing financial guidance, emotional support, time management, goal setting, networking/collaboration, and preparing for the next chapter.  
  •  Continue to offer guidance and provide information to students based on their needs. Students planning to advance to postsecondary education should know that GEAR UP programs are a resource for them.
  •  Assist with completing the FAFSA or navigating the verification process, applying for scholarships, offering support on completing college applications or applying to programs.
  •  Stay connected with students on social media to maintain communication and offer continued support. 

As I conclude, I congratulate all students in the graduating class of 2023, and wish them the best in the future. And, I say a big thank you to teachers, student support staff, administrators and all educators who support students to be the best in their next chapter of life.