■ By Kyle Selby / Reporter
Students from San Jacinto Unified School District publicly committed to colleges, trade school, and military branches for National College Signing Day at the San Jacinto High School gymnasium.
National College Signing Day allows the community and school officials to support their college-bound senior students. The May 1 event marked the district’s second annual Signing Day.
Designed to celebrate the commitments to education and the seniors of San Jacinto and Mountain View high schools, it was inspired by the National College Athletic Association (NCAA) National Signing Day. The special day was designed to align with the same deadlines most seniors have to make their important decisions.
Guest speaker Marianna Vinson, former SJUSD assistant superintendent of education services and former deputy director of the U.S. Dept. of Education for the Office of English Language Acquisition in Washington, D.C., was in attendance to encourage those ready to take the next step.
“Work hard…make good choices,” said Vinson, who attended Stanford University despite coming from an impoverished upbringing. Having attended grade school in the San Jacinto Valley, Vinson eventually moved to San Diego to complete high school in Chula Vista. From there, she moved back to the valley to begin her career as a teacher, and accelerated through the ranks at SJUSD, before joining the federal Department of Education in 2014.
Mt. San Jacinto Community College, University of California, Riverside, and other local college representatives were also present during National College Signing Day. The gym was filled with high school seniors, who were awarded medallions for participating in the signing ceremony, solidifying their commitment to post-high school education.
“I am extremely proud of my daughter, who is planning to attend UCR to study medicine with the four-year Hoyt Scholarship,” gushed Maria Torres, proud mother of San Jacinto High School senior Kaitlyn Torres. “My older daughter graduated a few years ago, before the district started holding these events. It was very special and very exciting, not only for us parents, but also the kids.”
More than 90 percent of graduating seniors from San Jacinto High or Mtn. View High in the past two years have expressed interest in attending either a four-year university, a two-year college, enlisting in the military or attending trade school subsequent to their high school education.