The DRDFS Class of 2021 Announces College Decisions

Each school year, before high school graduation, Seniors in the Next Level Scholars (NLS) program celebrate their college decisions at an event called Suited for Success. This year, the event took place virtually, with the members of the Class of 2021 joining via Zoom to announce where they are headed to continue their education in the fall.

Prior to the event, Suited for Success celebration boxes were mailed to students’ homes. Inside the box, they received a t-shirt with the logo of their chosen post-secondary institution, a graduation stole, a gift card for enjoying a celebratory pizza, and more.

The celebration started with an Alumni Panel. Three alumni of the NLS program, who currently attend three different post-secondary institutions, had a conversation about their experiences and offered helpful advice to the soon-to-be high school graduates. Elijah D., a freshman at Michigan State University shared his perspective on signing up for his own classes for the first time, and how to prepare for differences in instruction styles between professors. Camryn A., a senior at Grand Valley State University, had insight about on-campus employment, how to best communicate with admissions professionals, and how to build report with professors. The third Alumni on the panel was Marketea A., a junior at Hope College, who students are already familiar with because of her role as NLS Post-Secondary Transition Coach. Marketea was able to provide tips on everything from purchasing textbooks, to resources available to specifically support first-generation college students. The alumni had a great conversation about their real-life experiences that the Class of 2021 will be able to consider as they transition to their next level of education this fall.

Students enjoyed the Alumni Panel and were able to learn a lot from the three panelists. The most impactful highlight of the event, however, was the college decision announcements. One by one, the members of the Class of 2021 took their opportunity on Zoom to enthusiastically announce their post-secondary decisions. The seniors celebrated and clapped for one another, and the NLS Program Advisers shared words of congratulations and support. More than 35 post-secondary institutions were announced in the process. These students will go on to pursue their dreams at schools all across the state and country.

Throughout the three-year NLS program, many students made it a top priority to achieve perfect attendance to all program events. These students were recognized during Suited for Success for their commitment and achievement. The NLS Program Advisers received recognition as well for their dedication to students. From the longest-serving Adviser of nine years, to the newest Advisers to join this school year, they each have a positive impact on the lives of students.

To close the event, Makayla J., from Ida High School, left her fellow seniors with her owninspiring message, telling classmates “My time with Dollars for Scholars has been unforgettable. I’ve learned so much, especially about post-secondary. I’ve also felt so celebrated and encouraged. I feel so joyous and grateful to be with you all today (virtually), celebrating our accomplishments.” Makayla ended with a favorite quote of hers, saying “Today is a milestone. It tells you how far you’ve come. So keep learning, keep trying, keep accomplishing, and keep venturing on through your journey.”

This spring, the Class of 2021 will graduate high school and become part of the NLS Alumni Network. They will be able to rely on this network for guidance, resources, and connecting with new friends. With the help and encouragement of their peers, they will be more prepared to persist through post-secondary to earn their dream degree. Whether they attend a community college, trade school, or four-year university, Detroit Regional Dollars for Scholars will be there to offer support along the way.

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