SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — More than 180 people celebrated National College Signing Day by taking part in a gratitude march. The students, parents, family members and mentors marched from Esther’s Park to the College Track building on Alhambra Boulevard Wednesday afternoon.
One young girl broke away from the march to shout that she’s attending an HBCU.
The Sacramento High School graduate Seffani Robinson later revealed she’s going to Hampton University. Robinson is the first in her family of nine siblings to attend college and her aunt marveled at the opportunity ahead.
“She’s the first to go in her family,” said Akosia Robinson. “For her to go away to college, it’s a big deal and a big change.”
The students at the march Wednesday took advantage of the 10-year college track program which follows kids from ninth grade through their college years, removing the financial, social and emotional burdens for low-income families.
From the moment the kids are enrolled in the program, they receive much-needed scholarship dollars to pay for a four-year education. They also receive counseling mentorship throughout the journey.
Robinson had a choice of schools and passed on UCLA for Hampton University. She spoke about what it means to be the first in her family to go away to college.
“To me, it means a lot because I have a lot of people looking up to me, and now I can set examples for the future college track students as well,” she said.
Other kids also had lofty goals, some of them are even out of this world like 17-year old Orlando Ruvalcaba, a graduate of Sacramento Charter High School, who chose the US Military Academy at West Point.
He plans to study mechanical engineering and space science in hopes of becoming an astronaut.
Ruvalcaba admits math was his least favorite subject, but with guidance from the College Track Program, he was on his way.
“My freshman year I got a C and slowly with College Track I got an A in Calculus right now,” said Ruvalcaba.
Since 2014, College Track Sacramento has provided students in academic readiness sessions, extracurricular workshops, as well as college and financial aid advising.
The program started in 1997 with 25 students in East Palo Alto, and now has ten centers located in underserved communities across California, Colorado, Louisiana and the D.C. Metro Area. To date, it has put more than 3,000 students on the path to upward social mobility.