More than 100 Milwaukee-area students commit to colleges across the nation, earning $17 million in scholarships

NOW: More than 100 Milwaukee-area students commit to colleges across the nation, earning $17 million in scholarships

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) --- The Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee is honoring dozens of scholars as the organization holds its annual College Signing Day ceremony.

The event was held at Direct Supply on the evening of Thursday, April 21 and is the 9th ceremony of its kind but the first to be held in-person in two years due to COVID.

The event is part of a program called Graduation Plus, which helps students navigate to and through college. "We serve about 400 students in high school and another close to 400 students in college," said Andre Douglas, Graduation Plus Senior Director.

Douglas says the program focuses on tracking student progress through some of the most crucial milestones in their academic careers.

"From 9th grade ...working on self-development, career readiness, goal setting, and then college essay writing, understanding a FAFSA, understanding how to find college scholarships," he said.

130 students signed their letters of intent during Thursday's ceremony. TaNaija Fair, a Senior at Golda Meir was one of those students. "I'm going to be heading to the University of Chicago in Fall on a full ride scholarship," she said.

Fair will be a computer science major and has been working with a Graduation Plus advisor since her Freshman year of high school.

She says the program has made her feel ahead of the game in such a competitive space.
"It's very important to me as a first-generation student to have someone I can lean on," she said.

The group of students who were part of the ceremony have earned $17 million in scholarships and organizers say that's something worth celebrating after so much negativity in the public, especially in the last few years.

"If these kids stole a Kia, or wrecked a skating rink, or tore up Mayfair Mall, every media outlet would be covering it and the comments would blow up so why not flip the script and focus on positivity, success, growth, and just fighting and enduring something that none of us thought we had the will power to do," said Douglas.

Applications for the next round of the Graduation Plus program will open in June.

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