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College Possible celebrates investment by AT&T

Portland area College Possible chapter receives gift benefiting local students


Photo Credit: GRESHAM OUTLOOK: TROY WAYRYNEN - Student Frankie Cao, 17, left, takes a picture of David Douglas classmates, left to right, Celina Vidos, 18, Andrew Mai, 17, Zhiwei Zhen, 17, Mandy Storm, 17, Emily Sofich, 17, and Melina Hernandez, 17, who hold a ceremonial check. AT&T donated more than $269,000 to support the nonprofit organization College Possible. College Possible has helped students raise their ACT scores by an average of 21 percent during the past year. The program also helps prepare high school students for college.

East County students participating in College Possible joined program administrators, community leaders and AT&T officials Thursday afternoon to celebrate a $269,970 gift from AT&T for the program that helps low-income students prepare for college.

“AT&T is extremely proud of College Possible and proud to support the program,” said George Granger, president of AT&T Oregon. “This check is really to support your efforts, and it’s such a pleasure to meet all of you today. You give us such confidence in this program, and a lot of confidence in the future. You are going to be our leaders.”

This marks College Possible’s second year in the Portland area, serving Barlow, Gresham, Reynolds and David Douglas high schools. Parkrose High School joined the program this fall.

College Possible Portland serves more than 1,000 students annually, and 295 high school students at this time. Recently, the Portland chapter received the Light A Fire Award for Best New Nonprofit in Portland Monthly magazine.

“Your gift is just out of this world and enables us to expand our reach to more students,” said Suzanne Geary, executive director of College Possible Portland, about AT&T’s investment. “This really gives us a great vote of confidence.”

Geary was joined by College Possible Portland’s Chairman Ken Thrasher, who helped bring the program to Portland, and Francisco Bueno, program director for College Possible.

“This shows the support and value organizations and corporations have for what we’re doing,” Bueno said.

Photo Credit: GRESHAM OUTLOOK: TROY WAYRYNEN - From left to right, Suzanne Geary, executive director of College Possible; Rod Monroe, state senator from District 24; Ken Thrasher, College Possible board chairman; and George Granger, president of Oregon AT&T, laugh at a comment from a David Douglas High School student.

Also in attendance were state Sen. Rod Monroe, who represents District 24, including eastern Portland and Happy Valley; Diana Nuñez, community outreach manager for the city of Portland; and Rich Roche, director of external affairs for AT&T Oregon.

As guests visited two College Possible classrooms at David Douglas High, students shared their journeys and asked college and career-related questions.

Hibo Abtidon, a junior, said she would be among the first in her family to graduate from high school and felt intimidated by college. She applied to College Possible to learn about college and scholarships.

Stephi Wood, also a junior, wanted to set an example for her siblings by entering the program.

Guests told stories from their college experiences and careers, offering pearls of wisdom to the next generation.

“There’s this whole idea of lifelong learning,” Granger said. “When you were faced with something you hadn’t done before, you got through it. You’ll be able to say, ‘Here’s the next thing I don’t know but I can get through it because I’ve done it before.’”

Through College Possible, juniors prepare for the SAT and ACT and learn about the college application process, as seniors submit college, scholarship and financial aid applications. Additionally, College Possible takes students on tours of college campuses that interest them.

About 98 percent of College Possible participants have been accepted to college, and 95 percent have gone on to enroll in college since the national program began 14 years ago.

Photo Credit: GRESHAM OUTLOOK: TROY WAYRYNEN - David Douglas High School student Hibo Abtidon, 17, asks a question about college during a visit from representatives from College Possible and AT&T.

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