By Mike Kinney
Richmond Promise cheered its fresh batch of college-bound Scholars at its 8th Annual Scholar Celebration in Civic Center Plaza today.
The organization provides scholarships and wraparound services to more than 1,900 students from Richmond and North Richmond who are pursuing associate and bachelor degrees or career technical education certifications at over 200 colleges and universities across the United States.
Richmond Promise was started by a $35 million, 10-year investment from Chevron Richmond, with the aim of building a culture of postsecondary access and success in the city.
Today’s Scholar Celebration featured more than 300 of the 468-and-counting Scholars from the Class of 2023, and included a college quad-style atmosphere with resource tables that helped graduating seniors get off to a good start.
There was much to cheer at today’s celebration. In the Richmond Promise email newsletter on Friday, Executive Director Chris Whitmore reported a 19 percent increase in applications over last year. Filling out financial aid applications is a requirement to receive a Richmond Promise scholarship, and the rates of students completing them are on the rise at local partner high schools, Whitmore said.
Ben Ennis, director of communications for Richmond Promise, said each student at today’s ceremony received certificates and also a personal Congressional accommodation from Congressmember John Garamendi. Harpreet Sandu, staff member for Rep. Garamendi, attended the ceremony on the Congressmember’s behalf.
“The Scholar Celebration is a great way for the community to support our Scholar students as they embark on a wonderful and empowering educational journey,” Whitmore said.