IDEA Public Schools once again celebrated a milestone as its largest graduating class in history revealed their college picks at the district’s College Signing Day 2019 at the Bert Ogden Arena in Edinburg. During the event, IDEA seniors announced for the first time to their family, friends, and the community the college they plan to attend this fall.

“It feels unreal, honestly. I can’t believe our college signing day is actually here,” said Juliana Chapa, a senior from IDEA Toros. “I have been watching this ever since I was a founding student at IDEA Quest and being here on stage, getting to share my college pick with family and friends is so exciting!”

College Signing Day is the culmination of years of hard work and marks a momentous occasion in each IDEA scholar’s academic journey. This year was a record-breaking year for IDEA district-wide with 1,185 seniors submitting 10,293 college applications and receiving 5,392 acceptances to 362 colleges across the country, including 258 Tier 1 acceptances, 999 Tier 2 acceptances, and 13 Ivy League acceptances. In total, the Class of 2019 received over $17,838,651 in grants and $7,415,057 in scholarships. The number of first-generation college students that will be matriculating this fall also increased to a total of 752.

“The seniors in this room are proof—proof that statistics can be changed.  Proof that expectations can be met.  Proof that college is for all!” said IDEA President and Co-Founder JoAnn Gama to wild applause. “Why do I say you are proof? Because I know that only about 70% of Latino students are expected to graduate from high school, yet here you are.” 

The event also gave students the opportunity to thank their parents and families for their support.

“Thank you, Mom and Dad. Thank you for sending me to school every morning, for making me finish my homework every night, for questioning every B on my report card, and for pushing me to do more whenever I thought I was doing the most,” said senior Kevin Olvera from IDEA Quest. “Thank you for being the best parents anyone could ask for. I love you, and I am here today because of you.  

In addition to recognizing the hard work and dedication each student has displayed in the culmination of their secondary education, each presentation also serves as a school spirit day to build excitement around the process of selecting and enrolling in college—especially for younger students who will make similar decisions someday.

Students from this year’s graduating class across the district will accept spots at Cornell University, Brown University, Columbia University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Loyola University of Chicago, Air Force Academy, Rice University, University of Chicago, University of Texas at Austin, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, George Washington University and more.