(MILWAUKEE) We’ve all heard of college signing days for athletes but a school full of high-risk kids is celebrating an “Academic Signing Day” after earning over $7 million collectively in academic scholarship opportunities! Even though the odds were stacked against these inner-city teens, they made it to the finish line through big challenges and a pandemic.
Nasondra Johnson leads her senior class at Howard Fuller Collegiate Academy in a senior celebration like you’ve never seen before.
“In the fall I’ll be attending Marquette University.”
“University Wisconsin, Madison!”
“Cleveland State in the fall!”
“Let’s go let’s go!”
Cheers and tears, and a room bursting with pride.
The excitement is certainly justified as each student in the class of 2022, one by one, walks up to the podium announcing staggering amounts in academic scholarship offerings they’ve earned…
“After receiving 20 college acceptances…”
Followed by which college or university they’ve picked!
“I will be attending Jackson State University!”
“All we see on TV and hear on the radio is the negative about young black people,” said Dr. Howard Fuller, school founder. “What you get to do today is celebrate the good stuff!”
The charter school sits in a rough area of the city and was started nearly 20 years ago by Doctor Howard Fuller a staunch school choice advocate.
“Parent choice has never been the issue in this country,” said Fuller. “The issue has been who has it.”
Knowing the education options have always been limited in areas like this one and the academic outcomes are usually bleak for students of color, Dr. Fuller started his own school with tremendous results year after year.
“100 precent college acceptance by graduating seniors,” said Judith Parker, principal. “$ 7 million in offered scholarships.”
“32 college acceptances over $600,000 in scholarship money,” said Nasondra Johnson, HFCA Class of 2022.
” I was in tears and just had a chilling feeling go through my body when I see all of the students,” said Rhonda Hill, parent.
” After receiving 19 college acceptances … over $500,000 in scholarships.”
“It’s a real good feeling to announce your accomplishment and what you are doing,” said Ashton Gonzales, HFCA Class of 2022. “I will be attending UW Milwaukee.”
“How did it feel to stand up there and tell everyone where you’re going,” said Amari Hinton, HFCA Class of 2022. “I was a little nervous at first, but when i got up there it felt good, because I am the first kid in my family to ever go to college. It was great, I tried not to tear up because I am emotional. I’ve been through a lot; I didn’t have a dad in my life my mom was the only person who was always there for me so.”
Fighting through life’s challenges and a pandemic, to be able to stand here today makes this year’s Academic Signing Day celebration extra special.
“There’s all kinds of stuff going on in this country, and so for me to see a group of young people cut through all of that, fight through all of that get to this point in their life, it’s huge,” said Fuller.
“Everybody did their thing proud of everybody class of 2022 we out!”
Every year the high energy Academic Signing Day event is held, and Dr. Fuller makes sure all under-class men are in the audience as well so they can start envisioning the same successful outcomes.