Baltimore Launches College Signing Day 2020: Bigger, Better, More Inspirational Than Before!
BALTIMORE, MD. — Today, Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young announced College Signing Day 2020, the day Baltimore City comes together to rally around its high school seniors, celebrates them and ensures they launch successfully into their next life chapter.
Post-secondary education for Baltimore’s high school graduates is not a given. Historically, only half of Baltimore City Public Schools graduates enroll in 2- or 4-year college the year after they graduate. And without a college foundation, a self-sustaining income can often be unattainable. For Baltimore high school graduates who do not enroll in college or post-secondary training, the median income is $13,374 annually six years after leaving high school—less than half of the $27,622 that is considered to be a living wage in Baltimore City.
Education after high school is key to a successful future, yet for too many young people post-secondary education is out of reach. Former First Lady Michelle Obama started College Signing Day in 2014 as part of her Reach Higher initiative to inspire all students to complete their education via job training, the military, community college or four-year college or university. Baltimore held its inaugural College Signing Day in 2018. This year, the Host Committee is making College Signing Day 2020 bigger, better and more inspirational to strengthen Baltimore’s college-going culture and provide the resources students need to plan for a meaningful post-secondary path that leads to career success and a living wage.
“Too often, we stop pushing and supporting our students once they finish high school, and that is when our guidance, encouragement and validation are most important. That’s when the barriers to continuing education begin to set in,” says Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young. “That’s why we’re ramping up College Signing Day this year: to let the Class of 2020 know we’re there for them as they transition into their next life phase.”
“One of our most important duties in City Schools is to educate our young men and women to become lifelong learners once they leave our classrooms. Baltimore College Signing Day is an important way to inspire, encourage and support that journey," adds Dr. Sonja B. Santelises, CEO of Baltimore City Public Schools. "This year, more than 4,000 high school students will declare their intention to pursue a lifetime of learning, and we could not be more proud."
On Friday, May 1, Baltimore’s high school seniors and select 8th- and 11th-grade students will gather at Royal Farms Arena for a day of celebration and imagining what’s possible and what’s next. More than 40 colleges and universities are expected to be on hand, with mascots, admissions representatives and free college swag. There will also be special guests and performances featuring both student and professional talent.
“The event really comes out of a collective commitment to Baltimore’s young people by our business and nonprofit community partners,” says Tisha Edwards, Executive Director of the Mayor’s Office of Children & Family Success, the convening partner for College Signing Day 2020. “Our goal is to expand both our impact and community engagement.”
The rollout of College Signing Day 2020, Edwards says, is an opportunity for all of Baltimore to be part of this critical moment in young people’s lives.
“It is up to all of us to ensure our young people have a post-secondary path to success,” she says. “And we’ve designed the day so that the whole community can be involved. You can attend the event at Royal Farms, you can be an event sponsor and you can volunteer…We want the Class of 2020 to know their futures are promise-filled. And we want everyone in the Baltimore community to know they have a role in our students’ success.”
The Host Committee for College Signing Day includes Under Armour, DTLR, GreiBO, CollegeBound Foundation, United Way, iMentor, Baltimore City Public Schools and the Mayor’s Office of Children & Family Success.
"DTLR is proud to sponsor College Signing Day," says Tremayne Lipscomb, Sr., Community Outreach Manager for DTLR, a Baltimore-based urban retailer with more than 250 stores in 19 states across the country. “We believe in the value of education and support Baltimore in ensuring that students who reach higher are celebrated."
For information on how you can support and be a part of College Signing Day 2020, visit collegesigningday.org.