First Lady Michelle Obama delivered the keynote address at DC College Access Program’s (DC-CAP) annual Graduation Celebration this week, telling the recent graduates to invest in themselves to ultimately help their family and community and to never stop struggling in the face of adversity as it is a sign of growth.
The crowd of 800 at the Marriott Wardman Park included 250 Class of 2014 DC-CAP college grads and 150 Class of 2014 DC-CAP high school grads, as well as family members, DC-CAP staff and special guests. All of the graduates attended DC public and public charter high schools and were supported through high school and college by DC-CAP, a private, non-profit organization whose mission is to help all DC students prepare for, enroll in, and graduate from college.
“By continuing to focus on your own success you will ensure you can keep giving back – not just to the people you love but to the communities you come from. Don’t ever, every shy away from a good struggle. Instead, I want you to seek it out and dive in head first, because that’s what truly successful people do. More importantly, you all are role models for young people across this country, especially the DC-CAP high school graduates who are here tonight who are going to follow in your footsteps.” First Lady Michelle Obama
DC-CAP holds this annual graduation celebration annually to applaud the students’ achievements and honor their families who supported them. President (then Senator) Barack Obama addressed the first DC-CAP graduation celebration in 2005.
DC-CAP provides student and parent college readiness counseling starting in 9th grade, helping families navigate the college application and financial aid process throughout the high school years. DC-CAP also provides integral support and financial assistance for students while in college. The overwhelming majority of students served by DC-CAP are from low-income, minority, single-parent households and are the first in their families to attend college. Since DC-CAP’s inception in 1999, the program has played a critical role in helping to double the number of DC high school students enrolling in college and triple the number who graduate.
Three DC-CAP 2013-2014 college graduates were recognized by DC-CAP for demonstrating exceptional academic achievement, perseverance, and community involvement and leadership:
Academic Excellence Award – Faith Ajayi
Community Involvement & Leadership Award – Isiah Guinyard
Most Perseverance Award – Jamila Lee
Pamela Lynne Sorensen is the founder of Pamela’s Punch, a platform for profiling people who "make it happen" in the Capital region, reviews & topical blog posts. She launched Punch Enterprises, a connector consulting business in 2015 and Pacific Punch based in LA, in 2012. Pamela comes from an extensive background in sales and business development from a variety of industries, has been involved with charities and fundraising for a number of years and holds several Board and leadership positions. She currently resides in Arlington, VA. Follow her on Twitter at @pamelaspunch.