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Good morning! The spring semester literally has flown by, and it's almost time for graduation. We have good news to share and accomplishments that we should be proud of.
One of our key initiatives this year, the Dallas County Promise, will launch nationally next week, drawing attention to the critical need for student success and college completion.
The partnerships we have formed to launch this program – plus the role of the DCCCD Foundation in funding scholarships and cultivating the network that will propel its success – makes this effort unique among the Promise programs we see across the U.S.
Our district and our foundation have joined forces with the Dallas Independent School District, the University of North Texas at Dallas, Southern Methodist University, Commit! and many area industry partners to start the program.
More school districts, higher education and industry partners – plus community organizations – continue to join the Dallas County Promise network.
Next week, on May 2nd, we will celebrate with students from Adamson High School in Dallas who will be Promise students this fall. They are holding a pep rally and are making their college commitment announcements.
They also are receiving certificates announcing their participation in Dallas County Promise, which they can share with their families. Your college presidents will present those certificates to the students who will attend school on each campus this fall.
Dr. Jill Biden, former Second Lady and community college educator, will kick off the Dallas County Promise program nationally for us.
Dr. Martha Kanter, executive director for the national College Promise Campaign, will be on hand to lead discussions with Promise program partners, too. And a representative for the Tennessee Promise, which we used to help model our own program, will be on hand to speak as well.
I'm excited to see Dallas County Promise launch nationally, and I'm proud of the efforts made by DCCCD and our foundation to offer such an outstanding opportunity for students.
The Promise program will help them earn the college credentials they need to start careers; support their communities; and build economic development through their employers and area businesses.
The program also removes financial barriers – a critical factor in this process.
The DCCCD network has helped create and build Dallas County Promise. Our district's network, our efforts to remove barriers for students, and our efforts to create partnerships with other colleges and universities, K-12, businesses, and community organizations is featured this month in the Community College Journal.
The story examines efforts by DCCCD and Tarrant County College District to bolster college completion.
You probably know that the American Association of Community Colleges has scheduled its annual conference in Dallas at the end of this month. DCCCD is serving as a host institution, and we have a number of individuals who are presenting sessions about our programs and efforts to help students succeed.
In the midst of these initiatives, I would like to congratulate Brookhaven and El Centro colleges on two recent events that were a great success.
Brookhaven College hosted the inaugural Heroes Run involving first responders, DCCCD employees and community members on April 14.
I know it was a windy, cold day, but more than 120 of the 170 registrants walked, ran and tackled the obstacle course. I'm confident this annual event will continue to grow.
The Food and Hospitality Institute at El Centro College hosted its 10th annual "Bits and Bites" event on a sunny Sunday. A record 500 people attended and enjoy culinary delights prepared by the best area chefs, some who are El Centro alumni.
Our culinary students assisted, and more than $50,000 in proceeds will be used to support the institute's programs.
Other successful events hosted by our colleges, like the Male Student Initiative Summit and the Health Care Careers Fair, help us meet the needs of our students and serve our communities.
Last, but not least, commencement ceremonies kick off on May 5 at Eastfield College and then at all other campuses across our district. It's a time for students, family members and the entire DCCCD family to celebrate together.
You might want to know that DCCCD's first-ever graduate, Barbara Sue Sherrill Jones, will serve as commencement speaker at El Centro. Mrs. Jones truly represents our efforts -- for more than 50 years -- to help our students succeed, grow and lead fulfilling lives.
I want to thank each and every one of you for your efforts every day to build programs, provide opportunities, and help our students grow, graduate, and start productive careers.
We'll talk again soon.