On October 12, YES Prep hosted its 17th annual college fair, renamed this year to Success After YES: College & Career Pathways Fair, where over 3,500 YES Prep juniors, seniors and the founding sophomore class of YES Prep Hobby Secondary had the opportunity to interact with representatives from over 120 institutions, including colleges, universities, service academies, the armed forces and local trade unions from across the United States.
Amidst the buzz of students exploring their future, Success After YES paints a vivid picture of how post-secondary goals can be achieved. Hear about the college fair experience firsthand from Elsy and Jassive, as their journeys encapsulate the very essence of what our annual college fair represents—a source of inspiration and ambition that resonates with every student and counselor dreaming big and striving for success.
Elsy Benitez - Senior, YES Prep Brays Oaks Secondary
Success After YES isn’t just another event for Elsy Benitez; it’s a gateway to her dreams and a testament to her determination. Elsy, a senior at Brays Oaks Secondary, understands the significance of the college fair. To her, it’s a unique opportunity to engage one-on-one with representatives from colleges and universities.
YES Prep has been preparing me for college since sixth grade by giving me all the tools necessary to succeed.
Elsy’s journey towards the Success After YES event is a culmination of years of preparation, with every step being as intentional as the last. “YES Prep has been preparing me for college since sixth grade by giving me all the tools necessary to succeed.”, she shared with us. “For this reason, I feel very confident I can earn scholarships and get accepted to a college of my choice.” And as a first-generation Latina student, she recognizes the profound impact these events can have in her life. It's not just a fair; it's a bridge to her aspirations and a symbol of her hard work and ambition.
For Elsy, her desire is to study engineering, be it mechanical or civil. Her interest in this career path stems from a deep-rooted commitment to her community. She envisions better roads, a more vibrant city and a society where opportunities aren't defined by socio-economic status. Her passion for mechanical engineering, cultivated through years of working with her father on cars and engines, reflects her dedication to making a difference.
We found Elsy’s story to be powerful because her vision extends beyond her personal goals. But Elsy's vision extends beyond her personal goals. At just eighteen, she possesses a remarkable level of maturity and empathy. She recognizes that her journey isn't a solitary one. She shared how “Growing up, my family would tell me that I’m not the only one that is struggling. That there are people who are worse off and would have liked to be where I am right now. That wanted to have the opportunities that I have right now, but they didn’t. They didn’t have that support with them, but since I have it, I should make the best of it and I should have a better future and make it a better future for everyone else.”
Elsy's participation in Success After YES isn't just about her own future; it's about creating a better future for everyone else. She embodies the spirit of YES Prep, where education isn't just about personal growth but about lifting the community and striving for a more inclusive society.
Jassive Esquivel - College Counselor, YES Prep East End Secondary
As an East End Counselor at YES Prep, Jassive is no stranger to the transformative experience that Success After YES offers students. This annual event embodies YES Prep's commitment to providing its students with pathways to opportunities.
It's a really great way for students to maybe learn about their perfect college that they would not have found any other way.
For juniors at YES Prep, the college fair represents the first steps in their college exploration and career journey. It's a gateway to learn about colleges they might not have considered before. "It's a really great way for students to maybe learn about their perfect college that they would not have found any other way," says Jassive.
Seniors, who are already in the midst of applying to colleges, find incredible value in the college fair. It's an opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of their options, seek information about financial aid, and connect with college representatives that they might not have encountered otherwise.
Jassive is aware that many of YES Prep's students, especially those who are first-generation college-bound, lack access to resources beyond the school's walls. Which is why the college application process can be unfamiliar territory to some, and without events like Success After YES, many of the students would miss out on valuable college touchpoints and exposure to diverse programs. "We even have the military and specific trade programs because those are really important for some of our students,” she shared. “So we are giving access to all pathways for all our students."
As a counselor at YES Prep, Jassive is driven by her students. She sees their potential, their dreams, and their dedication every day. “It's a privilege to walk this journey with them and help them navigate the path to their future. I really feel like that was something I needed when I was a senior. It’s a very unique role, and my students are what push me to go to work every day."
We would like to thank all our YES Prep staff —directors of college counseling, directors of campus operations, college counselors, alumni transition specialists, teachers and other personnel—who made this event a success for our students and partner colleges.