Students at the Luther Burbank High School event

More than half of those signing letters of intent at the Luther Burbank High School event are Sac State-bound. (Sacramento State/Jessica Vernone)

In the media: " 'Academic Signing Day' at Luther Burbank High School," News 10

Local high schools have long participated in the tradition of athletic signing days to celebrate sports stars as they commit to a college. On Friday, May 1 – National College Decision Day – other seniors got their day of celebration, too.

Accompanied by the beat of their school’s drum corps – and joined by Herky, Sacramento State’s mascot – about 200 Luther Burbank High School seniors crowded into the campus library to take part in the inaugural Reach Higher College Signing Day, hosted by Sacramento Pathways to Success, a partnership among Sacramento City Unified School District, Sacramento State and Sacramento City College to promote college readiness.

The seniors signed letters of intent to attend their college of choice, with more than half of them opting for Sacramento State. College advisors were on hand to provide information on financial aid and online admission assistance.

Reach Higher is First Lady Michelle Obama’s initiative to inspire students to complete their education past high school at either a four-year university, a community college or a professional training program. Reach Higher events are helping to rally young people to reach President Barack Obama’s “North Star” goal: That America will have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world by 2020.

“It is a well-known fact that education is the key to a better future and has become the necessary admission ticket to a good job and a middle-class lifestyle,” Sacramento State President Alexander Gonzalez said before the event. “In today’s booming high-tech economy, higher education has replaced a high school diploma as the gateway to a better life. The students taking part in this first Academic Signing Day are to be commended for taking this first step toward that goal.”

“We have to dispel that old, time-worn idea that a high school diploma is enough to land a good-paying job in today’s economy,” said SCUSD Superintendent José L. Banda. “Postsecondary education is a must.”

“Congratulations to all the high school graduates throughout Sacramento,” Sacramento City College President Kathryn E. Jeffery said, “especially those who have decided which college to attend in fall 2015 and are ready to sign a letter of intent. And I would add, if there are students undecided about where to attend college, then I invite them to consider Sacramento City College or another community college as an accessible educational pathway to a successful future.” – Craig Koscho