Graduation Celebration 2018: 
 Honoring Our High School and College Graduates
 Community Superstars County Executive Ike Leggett and MCPS Superintendent Dr. Jack Smith Honor
Graduates at 2018 Celebration

Ike Leggett receives the first CollegeTracks Champion Award from Executive Director Nancy Leopold and Board President Kevin Beverly (Photo Courtesy Marc Warshawsky)

Students, parents as well as leaders and supporters from the community turned out in full force on April 25th to honor CollegeTracks 520 high school students who will go to college and 76 college students who will receive their degrees and head to the workplace or transfer to four-year schools. 

We were honored to have Montgomery County Executive Isiah "Ike" Leggett (above) and Catherine Leggett with us for the evening. A big thank you to both for all they do to improve the lives of young people in Montgomery County. Instrumental to CollegeTracks growth, Mr. Leggett has championed the organization's cause to make college a reality for more first-generation college students in Montgomery County.   

We are grateful as well for the inspirational story Mr. Leggett shared with our students about his own triumph as a first-generation student in Louisiana who made his way to and through college as well as law school. 

Exciting News: Dr. Jack Smith Discusses Expansion of CollegeTracks to Quince Orchard HS in the Fall
 Superintendent Dr. Jack Smith Announces Expansion to Quince Orchard HS in Fall 2018
( Photo Courtesy MCPS)  

Also with us was Dr. Jack Smith (above), an impassioned supporter of our work. Thanks to Dr. Smith, CollegeTracks will be expanding to Quince Orchard High School in the fall and even more MCPS schools in the near future.
He, too, shared his own powerful story of the challenges he faced to go to college and mentioned that if it weren't for two high school English teachers he probably would not be speaking to our students.

"Access precedes achievement," he said. "We need to spread CollegeTracks across the whole County." 

Thank you, Dr. Smith and the MCPS staff, for your support and understanding of the critical need for CollegeTracks in all high schools in the County.  
Joan Kleinman, State Director for Senator Chris Van Hollen, delivered proclamations from the Senator to CollegeTracks students and the CollegeTracks organization. Others on hand included George Leventhal from the County Council, Shebra Evans from the MCPS School Board, as well as other MCPS leadership and staff.   
Thank you to all of our honored guests for making our graduates feel so special.   

(Photo Courtesy MCPS) 
Back by popular demand, Aaron Gilchrist ( left), news anchor at NBC-4 and a first-generation-to college student himself, served as Host for the evening--stepping out for the third time to show support for our cause.

His candor about losing his scholarship and having to leave college because he did not not take his education seriously provided a powerful cautionary tale about staying the course to graduation. He credits several teachers along the way for helping him realize the value of a college degree and encouraging him to go into journalism.

Thank you, Aaron Gilchrist, for taking time from your busy schedule to inspire our students. 
( Photo Courtesy Marc Warshawsky)
We are grateful as well for the participation of
Liana Montecinos (right), immigration parallegal at Benach Collopy and an aspiring law student at UDC, whose challenges as an original Dreamer have shed light on what it means to be a young immigrant in the United States.   
The path to higher education is one that she has embraced wholeheartedly. She overcame challenges to stay in the U.S., graduate from high school, and to find scholarships that allowed her to earn a degree at George Mason and to pursue a law degree at the UDC, where she will earn her J.D. this spring.

Thank you, Ms. Montecinos. You are an exemplary role model.   

Shirley Salazar ( below), graduate of B-CC HS and soon-to-be graduate of Trinity Washington University and future nurse at Howard University Hospital shared her own story before introducing Ms. Montecinos.

( Photo Courtesy Marc Warshawsky

 Thanks to CALIFORNIA TORTILLA for Catering
 Dinner and Suzi Burka Walsh for Providing Dessert.  

A highlight of the evening was recognition of three high school seniors who have shown extraordinary determination and resilience as well as compassion, respect, and service to others in their commitment to their futures. 
( Photo Courtesy Marc Warshawsky)
Recipients (left to right): Nahome Tadesse (WHS), Elizabeth Quintana (B-CC HS), and Gabriela Maya (WMHS) appear with Joshua Rales, president of the Norman & Ruth Rales Foundation. We look forward to hearing more about next steps for each of these talented students.   
From All of Us at COLLEGETRACKS, Thanks for Your Support. With Your Help, We Are Changing Lives.
Congratulations to All of Our 2018 Graduates!

( Photos above Courtesy Marc Warshawsky)

CollegeTracks changes lives and communities by giving Montgomery County's 
low-income, first-generation-to-college students the chance to go to college or technical school with enough financial aid and support to help them persist to graduation.

This 2017-18 school year CollegeTracks is serving with more than 900 high school students from Bethesda-Chevy Chase, Watkins Mill and Wheaton high schools as well as 400 college students.

For more information, Visit our Website

CollegeTracks| 301 986-4124 |