300 buses transported over 11,000 students from 18 campuses across Houston, with teachers and staff in tow, to YES Prep’s 2019 Senior Signing Day event on Tuesday, May 21, 2019. Inspired by college football’s National Signing Day, 1,299 YES Prep seniors from 11 campuses packed the NRG Stadium to announce which college they will be attending in the Fall 2019 in front of their proud parents and the entire YES Prep community.
Current YES Prep Hoffman and next year’s YES Prep Hobby’s school director Chase Sander kicked off the event by introducing the pre-show performers: Gulfton Insanity Dance Team, Southwest Folklore Dance Team, Brays Oaks DIAMONDZ Dance Team, and the Fifth Ward Titanettes.
Marked by the launch of confetti cannons, Mark DiBella, YES Prep CEO, welcomed students, teachers, staff, parents, and supporters to YES Prep’s “best day of the year.” DiBella shared that 90 percent of this year’s senior class are first generation college-bound and, when they matriculate in the fall, YES Prep will have close to 6,000 YES Prep alumni who have graduated or are actively pursuing college degrees. He also announced that next school year, this annual event will see its biggest senior class to date, with both YES Prep White Oak and YES Prep Eisenhower welcoming their inaugural senior class, bringing the 2019-2020 graduating class size to 1,508. “Seniors, you fought hard to be here today, and you made it. Savor it. You earned it, yet your work is NOT done. You’ve got two more important tasks to accomplish. First, hold your banner or t-shirt the right way when you come up on stage. Second, and much more importantly, commit to completing the mission by graduating from college prepared to lead!”
Seniors, you fought hard to be here today, and you made it. Savor it.
Before the seniors made their way to the stage to declare their college of choice, Ellen Winstead and Jeremy Beard, Head of Schools, introduced the “yell leaders” for the six YES Prep campuses that do not have a senior class yet. This campus roll call is a YES Prep Senior Signing Day tradition and each campus’ way of celebrating their campus identity. Following tradition, the campus yells started with the newest to oldest campus: YES Prep Northwest, YES Prep Northline, YES Prep Eisenhower, YES Prep Southside, YES Prep White Oak, YES Prep Hoffman.
The remaining 11 campuses also performed their campus yells when their respective seniors came to the stage to declare their college, college insignia in hand. Also brought to the stage from youngest to oldest campus: YES Prep Northbrook High, YES Prep Fifth Ward, YES Prep Northside, YES Prep Brays Oaks, YES Prep West, YES Prep North Forest, YES Prep Gulfton, YES Prep East End, YES Prep Southwest, YES Prep North Central, YES Prep Southeast.
With each senior class averaging 100 students, the program was divided into “spirit breaks” where the Southside Dance Team, White Oak WON Dance Team, and Gulfton Mix Generation brought their talents to the stage.
To close out the event, Nella Garcia Urban, Chief Program Officer, and Phil Wright, Chief Schools Officer, congratulated the thousand plus seniors for reaching this great milestone. Garcia Urban said, “The mission of YES Prep is for you to graduate from college prepared to lead, so we’ll close our time with one leadership lesson for the next chapter of your story. You are soon to be alumni of YES Prep, and that distinction comes with the responsibility to demonstrate your leadership through college and beyond. And this distinction is proof that you earned the right to pursue your goals. You earned it.”
You are soon to be alumni of YES Prep, and that distinction comes with the responsibility to demonstrate your leadership through college and beyond.
Proof that YES Prep alumni have already begun to make their mark, Garcia Urban and Wright recognized a senior from each campus, sharing their accomplishments with all those in attendance. (Click here to read more about these seniors.)
Wright’s last remarks to the YES Prep graduating class of 2019, “Prove what every person here today already believes, that you are prepared to lead because you understand what is required to earn it. And we, the entire YES Prep community, almost 20,000 strong, are prepared to follow your bold leadership wherever it takes us!”