Wednesday’s inaugural Pledge Night — which welcomed the first cohort of incoming AUHSD Anaheim Union Educational Pledge students to Cypress College — was a night to remember and the crowning moment for an initiative to streamline the educational path to higher education. More than 800 students and their families packed the Campus Theater and a nearby lecture hall for the event.
The Pledge program is a collaborative, comprehensive partnership with higher education institutions and the City of Anaheim designed to ensure that students have the support they need for college, career, and life readiness and success. Nearly four years in the making, the Anaheim Union Educational Pledge includes Cypress and Fullerton colleges; California State University, Fullerton; the University of California, Irvine; and the city, in partnership with the Anaheim Union High School District to ensure that AUHSD graduates achieve their post-secondary goals.
Cypress College President JoAnna Schilling, Ph.D. said that seeing this effort come to fruition is “indeed the reason we got into this line of work.” Both she and NOCCCD Chancellor Dr. Cheryl Marshall thanked the team of employees across the district and community who made the Pledge a reality.
“Tonight was one of those nights I’ve dreamed of as an educator,” said Dr. Marshall. “Walking into rooms filled (in fact, overflowing) with Pledge students and their parents was exhilarating.”
In addition to the welcome and college overview, to ensure a smooth start to their collegiate experience, students had the opportunity to meet with support staff in programs such as Counseling, EOPS, Disability Support Services, and Financial Aid.
During the event, there was a symbolic passing of the baton between AUHSD Superintendent Michael Matsuda to Dr. Schilling and to Dr. Marshall.
In response to receiving care of the students, Dr. Schilling promised the cohort that their educational journey at Cypress College is one shared with all employees, who are invested in their success and who walk the path with the students.
Cypress College’s Pledge event was organized by Gisela Verduzco under the additional leadership of Dean Dr. Paul de Dios. Deans Dr. Richard Rams and Henry Hua, along with Stephanie Teer of the Dual Enrollment Program, also added significant contributions.