2023 Promising Futures Scholarship Ceremony Recap
It was a day of celebration as more than thirty students accepted scholarships at Big Brothers Big Sisters’ 37th Annual Promising Futures Scholarship Ceremony. Student achievement was on full display as BBBS’ Promisees and graduates crossed the stage to receive their medals and scholarship certificates while their families, friends, and Bigs cheered from the audience.
Held at the Austin Community College Highland Campus on Saturday, June 10, more than $300,000 in scholarship funds was awarded and promised to help students further their college goals. The keynote speaker for the event was Shellie Hayes-McMahon, BBBS’ Executive Board of Directors Chair Elect. Rob Evans, morning news anchor for KVUE Austin, was the event emcee.
“It was a day full of joy. Families, Bigs, community partners, and BBBS staff all came together to recognize the hard work and dedication of our amazing Littles and graduates,” said Dana DeLeon, BBBS Scholarship Program Coordinator.
Loraine M. Brown, BBBS Foundation Board Chair and President presented the awards to each student as they crossed the stage. “This is my 12th Scholarship Ceremony. It’s my favorite day of the year,” she said. “It’s just so exciting to see the students. Many of the graduates are students I saw come through as Promisees several years ago. And now, to see them continue their educational journeys with the help of our scholarships, it’s very rewarding.”
Community partners such as Workforce Solutions Capital Area, Skillpoint Alliance, Park University, Foundation Communities, and PelotonU were also on hand to support the event and to provide students with information about their respective programs.
A highlight of the event was the keynote address presented by Shellie Hayes-McMahon. “We’re here today to talk about the things you’re going to do, to talk about your dreams and wishes, and to celebrate the fact that you got here. Because the last 3 years have not been fun,” said Shellie. “I recently asked a friend, ‘When do we get to stop being resilient and be reflective?’ Well, that day is today. Today we can step out of having to be tough and reflect on everything that you’ve done to get here. Today is a day of joy.”
Shellie shared her own personal journey, and what it has taken for her to make her life into what she wanted it to be. She gave the students a number of tips and pointers for moving forward, including listening to your gut, dreaming big, being your own biggest cheerleader, and finally, enjoying the journey. “I hope you hear what the adults in this room are saying to you,” she said. “They are willing to help you carry the load. They’re reminding you that you’re not alone. This is a glow-up moment. We are extremely proud of you. Congratulations!”
Following the ceremony, attendees enjoyed refreshments, visiting with friends and staff, touring ACC’s new Make It Center, taking photos in our photo booth, and watching a performance by the Diversity Band.
“It was motivational,” said Yuliana, a mentee and scholarship recipient who was present with her Big Sister Katy. “It’s important for us to know that there’s help outside of school and that there’s someone there for us like our Bigs.” Yuliana is considering a career in the hospitality field and says she plans to attend ACC to study event planning and then go on to business school.
Another scholarship recipient was Pedro, who graduated from Jack C. Hays High School and whose big dream is to sing on stage professionally. “I’ve been in choir for 8 years and my biggest accomplishment this year was singing before a big crowd in a large auditorium,” said Pedro. “It was amazing.”
Pedro’s Big Brother AJ is in medical school and could not attend the day’s event but has been supportive of Pedro all along the way. “This is a great program with people who volunteer and who help kids achieve their dreams,” said Sabrina, Pedro’s mom, who got emotional as she added, “Pedro will be the first in the family to attend college.”
Congratulations to all of our 2023 graduates and Promisees, and special thanks to our Bigs, families, staff, Executive and Foundation Board members, and to our community, corporate and academic partners for supporting our mentees and joining with us to honor their dreams and accomplishments.
See Scholarship Ceremony photos HERE