College Bound PVUSD Seniors Feted in Freedom

May 18, 2018

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FREEDOM >> “My name is Karen Vega, and I’m going to UC Irvine,” the Pajaro Valley High School student said before stepping away from the stage to thunderous applause.

Karen is one of more than 200 Pajaro Valley Unified School District students moving on to a four-year college or university. On Friday, Karen, 17, and others were the first class to have a Signing Day celebration to recognize their achievements. Hosted at the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the event was put on by a combination of school counselors and the federal program GEAR UP.

As students were bused in from four local high schools — Pajaro Valley High School, Watsonville High School, Aptos High School and Pacific Coast Charter — they arrived to a breakfast laid out on tables labeled by the 52 universities they will be leaving for. It was a chance to be recognized and also to make friends with other students heading in the same direction.

“It is really to shine a light on these students who have overcome tremendous obstacles to pursue a college entrance,” said Carrie Goodwin, lead counselor at the district and one of the organizers. “We want the community to know how hard we are working, K through 12, to get every student college and career ready. We hope they will support and encourage the students to show up to their first day.”

The event, she said was modeled after Michelle Obama’s Better Make Room initiative aiming to inspire young people to pursue higher education. Goodwin, along with other organizers, plans on making it an annual tradition and next year says she hopes to see students from Watsonville’s Diamond Tech Institute represented as well.

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