On May 11, 2017, OCBF celebrated the graduation of the 16th class of students successfully completing the Higher Education Mentoring Program and taking the road to college. The program provided college preparation services to twenty-one high school graduates from high schools throughout Santa Ana over a period of 18 months. OCBF is proud to send each and every student off to college with a $1000+ scholarship and college starter kits – a large laundry basket stuffed with dorm bedding and supplies and backpacks complete with educational supplies – generously donated by Suavecito, Eddie Quillares of State Farm, and Jim and Linda Skorheim.
OCBF President Daniel Robinson and Program Chair Carolyn McKitterick opened the graduation ceremony by welcoming guests and praising the students for their tremendous efforts in preparing for their college journey. Santiago Sandoval, Program Coordinator, provided highlights of the student’s efforts and shared words of wisdom from Dr. Seuss: “You’re off to great places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, so . . . Get on your way!”
Lou Correa, Member of the U.S. House of Representatives for California’s 46th District, was the honored keynote speaker. Lou was an ideal speaker, as he spent his childhood in Orange County and currently lives in Santa Ana with his wife and their five children. He has devoted numerous years to improving the quality of life in Orange County by supporting public safety, health, fitness and safety for children, as well as mental health and veteran’s services.
Lou provided an overview on our current government to the students, their family and friends, and the OCBF supporters who attended. He stressed the importance of having strong Latino leaders and praised the youth for seeking higher education; this path will enable them to be tomorrow’s leaders, equipping them to help their communities. A special thank you was given to the parents, in honor of the sacrifices they are making in support of their child’s educational endeavors.
Following Lou was OCBF Associate Board President Jon Skorheim, who spoke to the importance of positive role models for our youth. He thanked each mentor in the Higher Education Mentoring Program and discussed the tremendous value of the guidance they provide to the students.
Next were heartfelt testimonials by two students and a parent, who spoke on the positive impact of the program and their appreciation for participating.
A special thank you was given to OCBF donors and the entire OCBF Associate Board, who raise money to support the program:
Advanced Depositions, Arbonne Foundation, College Futures Foundation, Draper Family Foundation, Green Foundation, Jeffrey Carlton Foundation, State Street Foundation, TK Foundation, Union Bank, and Wells Fargo Foundation.
Jackson Tidus, Carolyn C. McKitterick, Eric Traut, Maria Solis Martinez, Judicate West, Brian & Dianne Daucher, Bill & Patricia Grenner, John and Susie Hurlbut, Alan & Karen Brutman, Daniel S. Robinson, Michael D. Pursell, Jaritt & Erin Ruff, and the OCBF Associate Board.