On September 20th, Higher Education Compact of Greater Cleveland, College Now Greater Cleveland, and the Cleveland Metropolitan School District co-sponsored the second annual Cleveland Goes to College Kick-Off and College Fair at Cleveland’s Public Auditorium.
The kick-off inspired and motivated seniors to take tangible steps towards realizing their postsecondary goals. According to one CMSD school counselor, students left the event with “a new enthusiasm in preparing for college.” During their time at the kick-off students attended a workshop led by College Now, participated in a college fair with more than 60 postsecondary institutions, and listened to motivational speaker Dee-1, a former middle school teacher, and nationally renowned hip-hop artist.
At the College Now workshop, advisors covered what students need to accomplish during the first semester of their senior year to be on a path to postsecondary success. This “College Roadmap” includes studying for the ACT, completing college applications, and submitting the FAFSA.
The college fair included all 16 Compact education partners and representatives from schools in New York, Indiana, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Kentucky. To provide students with a multitude of postsecondary options the college fair also included representatives from the career tech centers, local employers, and the military.
The key note, Dee-1 spoke to the importance of postsecondary education, the challenges he faced while in high school and college and the importance of making informed financial decisions. Following Dee-1’s inspiring speech, he sang his hit song Sallie Mae Back and raffled off two $5,000 scholarships to be used towards the student’s postsecondary expenses. Student winners from Cleveland Early College High School and Jane Addams Business Career Center were announced live leaving the student and their counselors in shock. According to a CMSD school counselor students “were really impressed by how relatable Dee-1 was; they enjoyed being on stage and potentially getting scholarship money for school.”
Overall, the day was a success. Students were engaged and enthusiastic throughout their time at Public Auditorium returning to their schools motivated to succeed during and after their senior year. The Compact is excited to maintain this high level of motivation throughout the year through its implementation of initiatives related to college applications, FAFSA, and summer melt.
Special thanks to staff from College Now, Pre4Cle, Cleveland Transformation Alliance, CMSD, Slavic Village P-16, the Cleveland Federal Reserve Bank, Youth Opportunities Unlimited, Junior Achievement Cleveland, Greater Cleveland Neighborhood Centers Association, Tri-C, the United Way, America Scores, Urban Community School, and NOCHE for your help throughout the day.