Parents, faculty and supporters gathered to celebrate as 25 rising college freshmen graduated June 17 from the Delaware College Scholars program.

“Delaware College Scholars provides a unique program that empowers first-generation college-bound high school students as well as those traditionally locked out or marginalized by the system. It is a rare asset to our state, and its students are tomorrow's leaders,” said keynote speaker and Delaware State University Provost Tony Allen.

Graduates, who come from under-resourced backgrounds and are often the first in their family to attend college, spent three weeks, three summers in a row at St. Andrew’s School in Middletown, where they lived and studied together in a cohort-based program. While immersed in the college-like residential atmosphere at St. Andrew’s School, the students received mentorship, learned about and visited different colleges and formed lasting relationships with their peer groups while tackling an intensive reading, writing and discussion-based curriculum. In the program, students applied to college with the help of one-on-one advising, learned about financial aid and scholarships, selected the college of their choice and created a college graduation plan. The Delaware College Scholars program will remain onboard with the students to ensure its graduates persist beyond freshman year and remain on track to graduate successfully. This year, graduates of the program are attending Vassar College, Cornell University, University of Delaware, Delaware State University and Morgan State University and others.

While only 8 percent of Delaware students from low-income families attend four-year institutions of higher education, 92 percent of Delaware College Scholars have gone on to a four-year institution of higher education.

This year’s graduates include Javier Aviles, of William Penn High School, joining the U.S. Air Force; Derricka Benson, of Dickinson High School, who will attend Morgan State University; Jadyn Brown, of Caesar Rodney High School, who will attend Salisbury University; Sephora Cain, of Appoquinimink High School, who will attend Washington College; Nywel Cheaye, of MOT Charter High School, who will attend Vassar College; Erin Chism, of Howard High School of Technology, who will attend Neumann University; Damien Cook, of William Penn High School, who will attend Johnson and Wales University; Alexis Cope, of Mount Pleasant High School, who will attend University of Delaware; Delvin Doe, of Conrad Schools of Science, who will attend University of Delaware; Jordyn Foster, of McKean High School, who will attend Temple University; Chyna Gibbs, of Dover High School, who will attend North Carolina A&T; Nyra Giles, of Laurel High School, who will attend University of Delaware; Nathaniel Hall, of Milford High School, who will attend Delaware Technical Community College; Ricki Holleger, of Polytech High School, who will attend Delaware State University; Aliana Marrero, of A.I. duPont High School, who will attend University of Delaware; Temilade Ogunfadebo, of William Penn High School, who will attend University of Delaware; Simon Ortiz, of Middletown High School, who will attend Cornell University; Erick Ortiz-Rivera, of Smyrna High School, who will attend Delaware Technical Community College; Yesenia Ramirez-Montaño, of Cape Henlopen High School and joining the U.S. Army; Tyler Richardson, of Mount Pleasant High School, who will attend Delaware College of Art and Design; Alexzander Salmorbekov, of Concord High School, who will attend University of Delaware; Mya Spangenberg, of Caesar Rodney High School, who will attend Washington College; Nina Spruill, of Middletown High School, who will attend University of Delaware; Kaliyah Weldin, of Dover High School, who will attend Wesley College; Emountey White, of Delcastle Technical High School, who will attend Bryn Athyn College.

For more, visit delawarecollegescholars.com.