The Class of 2020 was exceptional, and our high school seniors left their mark as positive role models for younger Club members. Most teens in this group joined the Club as small children, and over their elementary and middle school years, benefitted from Homework Help and having a safe place to learn and to have fun.
As they entered high school, they participated in our community service clubs, physical fitness, and cultural arts programs. Along the way, they developed as individuals, strengthening their character, their bodies, and their academic performance. This group of teens were also fully immersed in Grenville Baker’s College Prep program, which included SAT classes, college visits and fairs — as well as assistance with applications, financial aid forms, and interviews. With many of the Club’s students being the first ones in their families to consider attending a university, many looked to the Club to guide them through the entire admissions process and beyond.
After all their commitment and hard work, we couldn’t let this amazing class of 2020 begin the next chapter of their lives without a proper Grenville Baker send off!
Because of COVID 19, we held our virtual College Signing Day Celebration by Zoom at the end of May. Executive Director Ramon Reyes began the celebration by congratulating our graduates. His remarks about how proud we were for our kids was echoed by our Teen Director Stephanie Urio, who has worked tirelessly with each senior, helping them to expand their horizons and to realize the dream of a college degree.
Past Keystone President and Youth of the Year Andres Cisneros spoke to the graduates about his experience in college and how the Club helped him to get there and succeed after high school. In fact, he also praised Teen Director Urio for providing helpful advice when he needed it while at Loyola, where he just finished his junior year as a communications major. Andres affectionately reported that Urio was only a phone call away and always ready to help! (Andres has made the Club proud. A natural leader and a tireless volunteer, it is no surprise that Andres has been elected President of three different volunteer clubs while working as an RA and at a part-time job at Loyola.)
During the ceremony, our 2020 graduates shared their choice of major and future career plans including entrepreneurship, film, physician’s assistant, technology and the ever–popular “undecided.” The college choices of this year’s graduation class included Hofstra University, Ithaca College, Nassau Community College, SUNY Buffalo, and SUNY Cortland. Board member and past President Nassau County District Court Judge Colin O’Donnell also congratulated the group and announced the award of $23,000 in scholarships. The event ended with a virtual round of applause acknowledging the hard work and dedication that brought these teens to this happy occasion.
Grenville Baker is grateful for the grants received from Long Island Community Foundation, Nassau County Bar Association WE CARE Fund, New York Community Bank Foundation, and Charles Schwab Foundation to support our College Prep program, in addition to the generous gifts from individual donors in our community. Their generosity made all this possible, ensuring a brighter future and helping to make the dream of college come true for so many.