2019 Signing Day for YSP
Family members were wiping away tears as smiling students signed pledges to enroll at Ohio State as part of the Young Scholars Program on Go Buckeye Day! in early April.
Such was the emotional scene for more than 100 Young Scholars from Ohio’s nine largest cities who converged at the Ohio Union for the annual event marking their scholarship offers being extended to the freshmen class of 2019. Now in its 30th year, the Young Scholars Program is Ohio State’s premier program for first generation, economically-challenged students from Ohio’s largest urban school districts.
For the Anaya family of Cleveland, the signing day celebration was a passing of the torch from Isaac—a spring 2019 OSU graduate—to his younger brother. With his older brother by his side, Antonio said it felt natural to follow in his footsteps and come to Ohio State. “I look up to him, he’s really like my role model,” he said. “I was always trailing right behind him.”
Isaac said he’s shown Antonio around campus and feels like the support network found in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion will also encourage his younger brother. “When I came in I felt a little isolated, but being here throughout the years I’ve found a community and found support within ODI and different communities,” he said. “Now I want to express that to him so he can find success and comfort here at Ohio State.”
Welcoming the students and parents to the ceremony was Robert Solomon, assistant vice provost for the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. He told the assembled Young Scholars gathered in the ballroom that the decision they were making was a bold leap forward. “As far as I’m concerned your signing today is more important than anyone signing for a sports scholarship,” Soloman said. “You are signing today to invest in your future and your family’s future.”
One of the many parents, family members and friends scattered around the Ohio Union ballroom for the ceremony was Grace Dillard of Canton. She beamed with pride as her daughter, Estonia, officially pledged to become a Buckeye. “We pushed her, but she really did most of the pushing herself. She made it easy for me,” said Dillard who was clad in a scarlet Ohio State t-shirt and visor for the occasion. “I’m excited for her. I want her to get out here in the world and absorb and learn everything she can possibly learn and apply it to her life.”
During the signing festivities, Young Scholar program coordinators from Ohio’s largest cities were each asked to name the most exceptional student from their city. As part of the program, scholars must agree to complete a college preparatory curriculum in middle and high school, one that gives them a solid foundation for college studies. Among the Young Scholars from Toledo, the top scholastic honor went to Estrella Schuler, a senior at Toledo Woodward High School. “I feel accomplished, I feel like I took a big step in my life,” she said after signing on the dotted line.
Like many other students in the Young Scholars program, Estrella will be the first person from her family to attend college. “College wasn’t a mindset for them, it was more or less graduating high school is the biggest accomplishment in their lives,” she said. “I thought I’d go the next step and go to college.”
Asked what she expects in her first semester, Schuler said she expects to have her hands full. “I’m going to be overwhelmed with the class sizes and the work load, but I’m prepared,” she said. “I know I can do it.”