In front of a packed YES Prep crowd, including YES students in eighth grade and up, the 21st annual Senior Signing Day (SSD) was held on May 25, 2022, at the Toyota Center, home of the Houston Rockets.
Kicking off the event was Roberto Treviño, managing director of college initiatives, who welcomed and introduced the student performance groups that would provide the event’s entertainment throughout the program. The student performance groups in attendance were: White Oak Nation (W.O.N.) Dance Team, Southside Secondary’s Dazzling Giants Dance Team, Southeast Secondary’s Steppers as well as the Pure Gold Dance Team, and Gulfton’s Insanity Dance Team.
CEO Mark DiBella gave the formal welcome and congratulated the Class of 2022 for all they had accomplished amidst a global pandemic, “Today is yours! This celebration is yours!” He also gave a hearty welcome to Southside Secondary’s first graduating class and addressed the junior class, reminding them that in just a few short months they'll be walking this stage, too.
With the addition of Southside Secondary, this senior class is the largest in YES Prep’s history, with over 90% being first-generation college-bound, and joining an alumni network 10,000 strong. DiBella’s special message to our outgoing seniors, “Whether you’re off to college, heading to the armed forces, or joining the workforce, my charge to you is: You are extraordinary, so be extraordinary. Seniors, from the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU for all that you’ve given to YES Prep. I wish you all the best in the years to come!”
New SSD tradition – Official YES Prep chant
In past years, each campus would have a school chant that was used to introduce the next school whose seniors were going to walk up to the stage to declare. As we welcome more campuses onto the stage, we have begun a new tradition by inaugurating a new YES Prep chant. Written by D’Juan Hych, teacher at YES Prep Gulfton Secondary, he and a group of his students led the student body present in the new YES Prep chant, sung to the beat of the 90s show theme song The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
Here’s a little story about YES Prep
Since 98, we’ve been the best
Our students lead, college-ready
Do we succeed?!?!
Oh YES indeed!
If it’s YES Prep, then we’re THE BEST
Cannot expect nothing else less
When I say YES Prep, you say the best
When I say YES Prep, you say the best
YES Prep... The best, YES Prep... The best, YES Prep... The best
Annual tradition - Senior Spotlights
Continuing the tradition of spotlighting seniors towards the end of the program, Nella García Urban, chief program officer, and Phil Wright, chief schools officer, first shared some words of wisdom with our Class of 2022. “Do not wait to lead. Take action. Do you feel like you are not ready? You are ready. Act courageously because you have already taken many courageous actions to get to this point. YES Prep seniors, YOU ARE LEADERS.”
To learn more about the senior recognized from each school who were identified as leaders among leaders, click here.
To close out the event, Treviño returned to the stage to share some closing thoughts with the seniors. "I just want to say that I am in awe of the Class of 2022. Seniors – you are incredible. You should be incredibly proud of everything you’ve accomplished thus far. And I hope that you are excited for all the amazing things that you will accomplish.”
He also took the opportunity to acknowledge the seniors’ number one fans – their families. “Each senior down here on the court would not be here without the support and investment of our families here in the stands. Thank you, parents and families, for your support and entrusting YES Prep with your children.”
To learn more about Senior Signing Day, click here.