This past Saturday was a celebration and the culmination of eight months’ worth of hard work, commitment and perseverance on the part of both our students and volunteers.
The morning kicked off with nine Code2College students participating in Demo Day, an opportunity to pitch the technical capstone projects that they had worked on for several months to a panel of Senior Executives from Retailmenot, OJO labs, Q2 eBanking and VRBO. And while all the projects were impressive, the judges selected three finalists.
• 3rd Place: Jay Patel, a Hendrickson High School Junior, won a $250 college scholarship sponsored by Cisco
• 2nd Place: Martin Murtiono, a Akins High School Junior, won a $500 college scholarship sponsored by Cision
• 1st Place: Amanda Escalante Tamayo, a Del Valle High School Sophomore, won a $1,000 scholarship sponsored by SailPoint
Following the Demo Day portion of the event, Graduation kicked off with the Volunteer Awards Ceremony. “Though we’re proud of the dedication and investment of time and effort from our students, it’s important that we recognize our volunteers whom without their efforts, none of this would have been possible” noted Matt Stephenson, Code2College Executive Director. Over 15 awards were presented to some of our most committed volunteers and corporate partners. In fact, Khoros took home the award for Most Committed Corporate Partner, while Clay Hendricks of Indeed was named Volunteer of the Year by this year’s students.
Our Keynote Speaker, Kristie Gonzales, President and General Manager of KVUE news, shared a variety of challenges and successes she has faced as a Latina, as well as inspiring words about perseverance and the importance of mentorship.
A heartwarming moment followed as the scholarship announcements were made and Adriana Reyes, an Akins High School Junior, was awarded a $2,500 scholarship sponsored by VRBO for her submission to the Code2College College Scholarship Essay Competition. “I can’t thank Matt, the volunteers and the entire program enough for the opportunities you’ve afforded me. Thank you” Adriana shared before her mother came running up to hug her proudly.
The BIGGEST surprise of the day came when Daniel Lucio, Government and Community Affairs Manager at Google Fiber, took the stage with Matt to announce that Google Fiber had donated a brand new laptop to all of the graduating seniors from Code2College! This gift was incredibly generous and will set our students up for success in their college journey and beyond.
We’re only able to do this incredible work through the partnership and collaboration of our volunteers and corporate partners. Through their investment, we have been able to scale from a cohort of thirty students in Fall 2016 to our planned class size of seven hundred in Fall 2019.
Thank you to each and every 2019 Demo Day and Graduation sponsor: Q2ebanking, Google Fiber, VRBO, SailPoint, Cision and Cisco. And thank you to all of our corporate partners for your investment in our program and students!