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Say Yes adds to College Signing Day excitement (Video, photo gallery)




Say Yes to Education added excitement to this year’s College Signing Day.

The John Marshall School of Information Technology and Cleveland School of Science and Medicine were among schools across the country that celebrated the national event Wednesday.

The John Marshall schools of Engineering and Civic and Business Leadership conducted ceremonies at other points this week. All three had every graduating senior participate, including those who are still choosing a college, going directly into the workforce or enlisting in the military.

John Marshall IT seniors took to a stage one at a time and used a marker to sign on a banner beneath one those general options or their intended college or university.

The Higher Education Compact of Greater Cleveland has found that fewer CMSD graduates are enrolling in post-secondary studies, a trend they attribute to cost.

But Megan O’Connor, a College Now Greater Cleveland advisor based at the John Marshall Campus, said the designation of Cleveland as a Say Yes to Education community has created a surge of interest in going to college. Say Yes Cleveland is providing scholarships that fill gaps in tuition at public colleges, universities and Pell-eligible certificate and training programs throughout Ohio and at more than 100 private institutions across the country.

“We’ve got more parent involvement, too,” she said. “Parents have come in, parents have called, to find out how it will work.”

O’Connor said she has observed increased interest in staying local, where students can live at home and be spared the expense of campus housing. That could help explain the many signatures of John Marshall IT students under Cleveland State University and Cuyahoga Community College.

Mason, a John Marshall IT senior, is going to CSU but aspires to eventually attend medical school and become a surgeon. He said having Say Yes has made a big difference.

“The money will definitely come in handy,” he said. “I won’t have to apply for loans.”

Say Yes also will work with schools to provide services, like after-school or summer programming and medical and legal clinics, that help students and their families and keep students on track to graduation and career and college readiness.

Ohio State University’s Young Scholars Program helps prepare students in CMSD and the state’s other large urban districts by conducting monthly workshops on subjects such as goals and selecting majors, offering one-week stays on campus and assisting them in filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Young Scholars who graduate with qualifying grade-point averages and admissions test scores earn scholarships based on need.

Denise Wiggins, Cleveland program coordinator for Young Scholars, attended the John Marshall IT ceremony. She serves students across the District, including three at John Marshall IT.

“The goal of our program is to make sure our students are college bound, wherever they go to college,” she said.

For more information on Say Yes to Education, go to