NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Investing in the future was the message on Tuesday at ODU’s Ted Constant Convocation Center.
Thousands of local high school seniors are celebrating their decision to go to college.
Many of these young minds might not have had this opportunity because of financial barriers.
That’s where the ACCESS College Foundation comes in to make their futures brighter, thanks to a special program and college counseling.
ACCESS puts advisors in all Southside and Northampton County high schools
Those advisors work with students to provide all sorts of services in reaching out to colleges, but the real payoff for the advisors is the joy 2,000 students have in knowing they are going to college.
No one demonstrated the joy of the day better than Princess Anne High School senior Kitron Williams.
When he was surprised with a $2,000 scholarship to Norfolk State University, he did a dance up the stage that brought down the house.
Also on stage was Booker T, Washington’s Shiloh Ortiz, who is going to Virginia Tech with a possible major in forensic pathology.
10 On Your Side asked him what would he do if he didn’t have the ACCESS College Foundation.
“I definitely would not be going to college. I didn’t even have plans to go to college until senior year, so I am appreciative of them getting me on the right track,” Ortiz said.
ACCESS advisors guide students through the maze of college admissions.
Ran Randolph is chairman of the board for ACCESS: “With the help of the ACCESS advisor they have identified the right college they want to attend. They have gotten federal aid, got some student loans, which we try to minimize. They have grants and scholarships, and then they cobble together the whole thing to make it work,” Randolph said.
Making it work is helping send Yair Gomez-Ortiz to Stanford with $71,000 a year in aid, “When I found out, I stated crying in all honesty. A year ago today, I never would have imagined getting accepted to a place like Stanford,” he said.
America Serrano is a Great Bridge High School senior and she is going to JMU, “I have been able to do different college tours I probably couldn’t do without them. That is mostly because my parents are working all the time, and I don’t have a car, so I wouldn’t be able to go there,” Serrano said.
As for Kitron Williams after he hit the stage he was still so happy, he hugged the NSU Mascot so hard, the Spartan’s head fell off.
That was the joy of the day.
The 2,000 high school students are going to 212 schools across the country.