Bright Prospect College Decision Days: Emotion laden events filled with touching tributes

Top photo: Garey High seniors
Bottom photo: Pomona Unified administrators pictured with US Department of Education special advisor Julie Heinz on far right

Bright Prospect held its 10th annual series of College Decision Days at seven high schools it serves in Pomona, Montclair and Ontario. A total of 234 high school seniors from the Bright Prospect program are graduating and will move on to institutions  including Princeton, Columbia, UC Berkeley, UCLA, Cal Poly Pomona, and other outstanding UCs, Cal States, private colleges and community colleges.  At these events, the seniors addressed the 11th and 10th graders in the audience with words of inspiration. Students expressed gratitude to the school staff, teachers, parents, friends, Bright Prospect, and their Bright Prospect crew for providing them with the guidance and support during the daunting college and financial aid application process. Many local community partners and business leaders attended these events. Pomona Unified Superintendent Richard Martinez as well as other district administrators and school board members attended and thanked Bright Prospect for transforming the community. Pitzer Interim President Thomas Poon attended the events at Pomona High and Garey High to welcome Tori Ramirez and Jan Bragado respectively when they announced their decision to attend Pitzer College in Claremont.
A special advisor from the US Department of Education Office of Postsecondary Education, Julie Heinz, flew in from Washington to attend the ceremony at Garey High. She said she was deeply touched by the stories students told of the struggles they faced growing up, and by how thankful they were that Bright Prospect transformed their lives. A senior from Garey High School spoke about her challenges growing up homeless and seeing her siblings put into foster care. When her family was food insecure, Bright Prospect provided her with gift cards to local grocery stores. Other students spoke about overcoming such issues as bullying, suffering from depression, experiencing loss of a family member, and coming from rough home environments.  Many attendees were misty eyed or had tears running down their cheeks, hearing about the resilience of these determined students from our community.
Bright Prospect founder and president Eric Garen addressed the students and reiterated that there are people who care about them, and that they are the future leaders of their families, their communities, and the country. We are all very proud of our graduating seniors and will honor our commitment to support them throughout their college years until they reach the goal of graduation.
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